At the 152nd Session of the WHO Executive Board (January 30 – February 7, 2023), the Executive Board will discuss the Report on Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies (EB152/38). We welcome the opportunity to once again debate the WHO reform and the involvement of non-State actors (NSA) in WHO’s governing bodies, as we did last year.
We are pleased with the recognition that NSA’s participation must become more meaningful; that there is a need to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of interactions; and most importantly the respect for the diversity of non-State actors and to foster engagement of community voices.
However, despite our efforts, civil society voices and positions are still not reflected in the secretariat report. Instead of increasing meaningful participation, top-down approaches have been imposed on us without a transparent and open dialogue among the different stakeholders, especially member states and civil society organizations (CSOs).
As mentioned many times by CSOs, if Member States have decided to continue organizing informal pre-meetings ahead of the World Health Assembly every year (as decided by the Executive Board at its 150th session in January 2022), NSAs, especially CSOs, must be involved in the design and organization of such meetings.
Along the same line, the report states that the Secretariat will select a limited number of agenda items for constituency statements based on an assessment of which items are likely to attract the most interest for statements by non-State actors, without guarantees that NSAs will be consulted in this regard.
We are disappointed that the proposed way forward in the report does not guarantee that consultations with NSAs, particularly CSOs, and Member States will take place regarding the informal pre-meetings and constituency statements. Consultations are a concrete way of ensuring a more meaningful participation as proposed in this same report.
These proposals not only overlook the role of CSOs and their work at the national level, many times replacing the Government in the delivery of health services and ensuring that no one is left behind, but also contradict this same report which recognizes the importance of meaningful, effective and efficient participation of people’s voice as expressed through civil society.
We therefore request that WHO’s secretariat creates a truly open and transparent consultation process where all NSA constituencies at the national, regional and global levels are heard and their concerns are taken into account. As a Member State-led body, we call on Member States to request from the WHO secretariat to ensure robust and meaningful NSA involvement in WHO governing bodies.
Centre for Health Science and Law
Commonwealth Medical Trust
Global Health Council
Health Action International
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
Médecins Sans Frontières
Medicus Mundi International – Network Health for All
Save the Children WaterAid