WHO Framework of engagement with non-State actors

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WHO Framework of engagement with non-State actors


Summary of IBFAN's concerns


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IBFAN is concerned that the proposals:

·       Fail to include the principal that increased engagement should contribute to the fulfilment of the WHO’s mandate and give added value to public health. 

·       Fail to acknowledge the fundamentally different nature of the two principal sets of actors: public-interest actors (guided by public-health agenda) and private commercial sector (guided by market profit-making logic) as if both sets of external actors had or could have a primary interest in line with the WHO public interest mandate.

·       Fail to acknowledge the different level the increased level of risk that commercial interests pose to WHO integrity, independence and trustworthiness/credibility.

·       Increases commercial entities access to WHO’s governing body meetings and informal consultations where WHO’s policies, norms and standards are set, and grants them the right to take part in 3 year work plans with WHO.

·       Fail to address the problem of hybrid entities (public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder arrangements), even though these entities have companies/corporations on their boards and as funders, and more often than not represent interests of the commercial sector.

·       Contain no analysis of underlying causes for institutional and individual Conflict of Interest (COI) in relation to different actors and different forms of engagement. Moreover, throughout the text of all the draft policies, while COI is mentioned several times, there is no attempt to develop a systematic and comprehensive framework of COI safeguards to ensure avoidance of those COI that must be eliminated and appropriate management of the remaining ones.

·      Fail to state that financial resources to implement the policy will come from WHO’s regular budget. This would prevent any conflict of interest and unpredictability in the scrutiny and oversight of the policies and procedures.



Text taken from WHO website:


This is to inform you that the WHO Secretariat has continued the development of a detailed Framework of engagement with non-State actors, as requested by its Executive Board during its 134th session in January 2014.  The Board also decided then that there should be further consultations on the draft WHO’s framework on engagement with non-State actors and these should be limited to Member States. Accordingly, an informal consultation to that effect for Member States will be held on 27-28 March 2014. You are kindly invited to consult, for your information, the document “Background document to support discussions by Member States of WHO’s engagement with non-State actors” and other relevant documentation on the WHO website at the following link:




The outcome of the consultation will feed into the finalization of the Framework for the consideration of the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly in May 2014 through the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of the Executive Board.