Statement | 12 October 2020 | Download PDF

Agenda Item: 11. Review of and update on matters considered by the Executive Board Statement: 11.9 Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

Documents A73/4 and EB146/2020/REC/1, decision EB146(10)

HAI welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the proceedings of this World Health Assembly. Once again, we are asked to comment on the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on public health, innovation and intellectual property (GSPOA). On this occasion, against the backdrop of a global pandemic with no effective response in sight. So, whilst we commend the efforts of the secretariat and the review panel, we cannot be anything other than disappointed at the slow pace and limited scope of implementation of an initiative once considered transformative and ground-breaking. 

We are convinced that if components of the GSPOA, specifically dealing with technology transfer, intellectual property management and R&D governance, among other recommendations, had been implemented as mandated by resolutions WHA61.21 and WHA62.16 and by deliberations of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) the response to COVID-19 may have been substantially better.

Yet again, we ask Member States to simply fulfil their duty to protect and promote public health and ensure adequate funds for the implementation of those activities identified by the review panel as realisable in the short term. We encourage Member States and other stakeholders to support such initiatives as the COVID-19 Technologies Access Pool (CTAP) which, just like the GSPOA, seeks novel ways to manage IP and other data to maximise the impact of policy interventions on global public health.