As the 5th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Body resumed in Geneva, on June 12th, PSI delivered a statement denouncing the setbacks in key areas in the context of the negotiations of a future pandemic accord.
After several rounds of negotiations behind closed doors and with zero transparency, the First Draft is worse than the zero draft.
When the Zero Draft was published at the beginning of February, PSI already called attention to how weak some of its provisions were. Our concerns were related to the issues of protecting public funding and guaranteeing transparency and access to medical countermeasures were. Not to mention the absence of language on decent work and labor rights.
After several rounds of negotiations behind closed doors and with zero transparency, the INB published the First Draft, which was the result of such negotiation rounds. The text is worse than the zero draft.
The statement below, delivered by Baba Aye, PSI Health and Social Services Officer, summarizes some of the main points of setbacks that PSI identified. We will continue to follow the negotiations and to seek the engagement of our affiliates at the national and regional levels to bring more contributions to the future accord.
PSI - Statement on Labour Rights, access to medical countermeasures and global public goods, during the resumed INB5 - Read by Baba Aye
It is deeply disappointing that Paragraph 3(b) in the zero draft has been removed. We urge you to re-include it in the text. It is pivotal for transparency of publicly funded-development of counter-measures, by ensuring the disclosure of prices and the terms of public procurement in times of pandemics. Without this, we will have learnt nothing from the COVID-19 pandemic experience.
PSI strongly affirms the fundamental need for an automatic IPR waiver mechanism to be built into the declaration of a PHIEC. The world and, especially frontline public services workers cannot afford world leaders to undergo months of negotiation to end up with an empty text. Option A of Article 11 is unacceptable and Option B is not the way to put in place lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current draft is still weak on the labour and union rights of health and care workers as an essential element of pandemic PPR. Social dialogue is not possible without these. And decent work for health and care workers is hollowed without social dialogue. We thus call on the INB to explicitly include the integration of health and care workers’ (including the migrant workforce) labour and union rights in the accord.
Finally, we strongly call for a more transparent and meaningful involvement of the civil society movement in the process.
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Right now governments across the world are negotiating a new Pandemic Treaty at the World Health Organization, which will shape the Covid-19 recovery and determine how we deal with future crises. Yet this Treaty can only be effective if it responds to the voices of health workers, whose experiences and perspectives through this pandemic must be at the heart of this process.