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No. 156, 24 May 2017

SOUTHNEWS is a service of the South Centre to provide information and news on topical issues from a South perspective.
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NAM Health Ministers hold  meeting during World Health Assembly

Delegations attending the 10th Ministerial Meeting of Health Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement on the sidelines of the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Ministers of Health of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held their 10th Ministerial Meeting in Geneva on 23 May on the sidelines of the 70th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.  The Ministers reaffirmed the unity and solidarity of the group and their coordinated action towards the strengthening of an inclusive global health agenda.
The Non-Aligned Movement represents nearly 120 member states and several observer states and organizations.
The Ministerial Meeting was opened by the Vice Minister of Health of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Dr. Edgar Rivera.  Venezuela is the current Chair of the NAM. The South Centre was invited as a guest to attend the meeting and the Deputy Executive Director Vicente Yu delivered a statement on behalf of the Centre.
Following the opening session a general debate was held on the theme “Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Building Better Systems for Health.”  Several delegations took the floor to share their views on health issues that will be discussed at the WHA.  They also expressed their reaffirmation of the role of NAM in supporting its members states to coordinate their positions in the World Health Organization.
The NAM meeting adopted a Declaration containing positions of the group on many health issues that will be discussed at the WHA.   The Declaration is reproduced below.

 Declaration of the 10th Ministerial Meeting Ministers of Health
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministers of Health
“Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:
Building Better Systems for Health”

Palais des Nations, Geneva
23 May 2017
We, the Ministers of Health of the Non-Aligned Movement, gathered in Geneva, Switzerland on 23 May, 2017;

Reiterating our strong commitment to the purposes and the founding principles of the Non-Aligned Movement and the principles of the World Health Organization Constitution which emphasized that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition, and also stressed that the health of all people is fundamental to the attainment of, peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and states;

Guided by the visionary spirit of its founders and the principles and purposes of the Non-Aligned Movement enshrined in Bandung (1955) and Belgrade (1961), as well as by the firm commitment to achieve a world of peace, justice, respect, fraternal friendship, solidarity, cooperation and development;

Emphasizing the vital importance of the Non-Aligned Movement principles to the international Health System, in particular equality of all nations as well as solidarity as a fundamental component of cooperation and relations among all nations in all circumstances;

Emphasizing the role of the NAM health meetings as the principal platform representing the developing countries in health multilateral fora;

Reaffirming all previous NAM Ministerial Declarations on Health and determined to continue to be guided by them in the work of the NAM at the national and international levels, including WHO;

Reaffirming our strong dedication to pursue the implementation of the NAM health program as embodied in the documents of NAM summits and meetings, and lastly by the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement held from 17 to 18 September 2016 in Margarita Island, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;

Emphasizing the central role played by the WHO in the governance of global public health issues and as the lead agency for health in the United Nations system;

Stressing the importance of global health cooperation as a necessary prerequisite for achieving sustainable social and economic development and, to promote knowledge sharing and mutual learning between countries and other relevant international actors;

Mindful of the fact that developing countries are in general more affected by weak health systems, needing more urgently international cooperation, to strengthen health systems, as key strategies for fighting poverty and fostering development;
Reaffirming UNGA resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which it adopted a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centered set of universal and transformative Sustainable Development Goals and targets;
Reaffirming also the UNGA resolution 69/313 of 27July 2015 on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
Highlighting the WHO leadership in the implementation of the health related Sustainable Development Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals;

Recalling Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; which will have significant implications for the work of WHO, and recognizing that health is a precondition for, and an outcome and indicator, of all three dimensions -economic, social and environmental- of sustainable development;
Take note the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA69.11, adopted in May 2016, entitled: Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

Urging member States to fulfill their commitment and, as appropriate, provide the necessary financial support to the WHO and its programmes;

Emphasizing that the Universal Health Coverage, incorporating the principles of primary health care and sustainability, is an instrument for improving the resilience of health systems and supports communities to better realize health objectives;

Noting that UHC addresses the underlying factors, determinants and risks to epidemics and provides mechanisms and systems to address the rise of non-communicable diseases and other health priorities. It is a pillar of sustainable development that supports multiple goals and targets in the 2030 development agenda;

Emphasizing that many public health emergencies could have been prevented or better controlled if the health systems were stronger and better prepared, and emphasizing also that the key role of international cooperation and transfer of technology to developing countries in this regard is of high importance and should be translated into a number of action-oriented mechanisms;

Underscoring the fact that global health is also a long-term objective, which requires sustained attention, commitment and international cooperation beyond emergencies;

Recognizing that the worldwide response to Ebola as well as Zika virus outbreaks led by WHO Secretariat Team, member States and other relevant actors together, is one example of how international concerted and sustained action can overcome global health challenges;

Considering the importance to that WHO continues helping countries to strengthen their national health systems, in particular with respect to human resources, laboratory capacities for surveillance, vector control, and research and development;

Recognizing the close relationship between foreign policy and global health and their interdependence, and in that regard also recognizing that global health challenges require concerted and sustained efforts by the international community;

Recognizing the high mortality and disability of the victims of road traffic accidents (RTAs) that predominantly affects developing countries as a leading cause of loss of life; RTAs pose a public health and development challenge and greatly affect the human capital development of the nations;

Welcoming the WHA69.7 Resolution entitled: Addressing the challenges of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020): outcome of the second Global High-level Conference on Road Safety – Time for Results;

Reaffirming the right to use, to the fullest extent, the provisions contained in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which provides flexibilities for the protection of public health, and in particular to promote access to medicines for all, and to encourage the provision of assistance to developing countries in this regard;

Reiterating the call on countries to take measures to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights by right holders, particularly where they seek to restrain and unreasonably impose measures that affect the supply chain of medical products, and transfer of technology relating to health products;

Recalling the World Health Organization Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, and reiterating that health research and development should be needs-driven, evidence-based, guided by the core principles of affordability, effectiveness, efficiency and equity and considered a shared responsibility;

Underscoring the need for concerted action and a coherent response at the national, regional and global levels in order to adequately address the challenges to sustainable development posed by non-communicable diseases to nations, in particular the most prominent ones, including mental health disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes;

Underscoring that the root causes of air pollution and its adverse health impacts, which can be transboundary in nature, are often predominantly socioeconomic in nature or due to poor law enforcement, and emphasizing the importance of technology transfer, poverty eradication, rule of law including to sustainably reducing the health impact of air pollution;

Reaffirming the high importance of technology transfer and its facilitation as well as providing support for innovation between developed and developing countries, as well as among developing countries in addressing the disparities and achieving highest attainable health;

Recognizing the importance of those WHO reforms aimed at and to addressing main areas of concern in global health, reducing disparities, preparedness for emerging and remerging diseases, and achieving universal health coverage (UHC), while strengthening the intergovernmental nature of WHO;

Taking note of the WHA69.10 Resolution, adopting the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) and emphasizing the importance of its full implementation and comprehensive evaluation in 2019;

Expressing grave concern over slow progress made in reducing maternal and child mortality and improving the health of women and children, especially in the least developed countries;

Considering the adoption of the “Code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel” (WHA63.16) as an effective initiative that requires further consolidation through practical measures to address the effects of the migration of the health workers from developing countries;

Stressing the need for implementing social determinants of health approach to reduce health inequities;

Taking note of the report of Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research and the Advisory Group of Independent Experts to review the smallpox research programme and reaffirming WHA64 decision in 2011WHA64(11); which decided to reaffirm strongly the decisions of previous Health Assemblies that the remaining stocks of variola virus should be destroyed;

Expressing concern at the global threat posed by health epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases and calling on for enhanced cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to confront and combat these scourges;  

Expressing great concern on the spread of antimicrobial drug resistance and its potential massive threats to global public health achievements and the urgent need for global action to address this threat and, welcoming the political declaration of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance and progress made in implementing resolution WHA68.7 on Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance; and the crucial need to support Member States with technical assistance to develop their national plan on antimicrobial resistance in response to the Global action plan;
Take note the establishment of the UN interagency coordination group on antimicrobial resistance and noting the progress made towards the development of the WHO Global Development and Stewardship Framework to support the development, control, distribution and appropriate use of new antimicrobial medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions while preserving existing antimicrobial medicines and to promote affordable access to existing and new antimicrobial medicines and diagnostic tools;

Appreciating the continuing progress in eradication efforts towards each of the four objectives of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013–2018 (the Endgame Plan), express its concern on delay in the predicted date for certification of global polio eradication to 2019 (A69/25), and stressing the vital importance of international cooperation in supporting and assisting efforts of affected countries including by addressing the availability of effective and affordable vaccine, as well as effective immunization programme;

Recognizing health challenges associated with migrants and refugees including the need to ensure access to health care by migrants in the framework of the broader agenda on migration and development;

Emphasizing on the importance of paying particular attention to building core capacities to detect, report, assess and respond to public health emergencies and public health risks, as part of countries’ commitments under the international Health Regulations (IHR) (2005);

Recognizing that South-South cooperation does not substitute, but complements North-South cooperation; and, in this regard, reaffirm the determination of developing countries to explore more effective South-South cooperation, as well as triangular cooperation, allowing for the mobilization of additional resources necessary for implementation of health-related development programmes and reaching universal health coverage;

Noting the report on the comprehensive evaluation and review of the WHO global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property (A70/21) and expressing concern over lack of awareness about GSPOA and monitoring and reporting from stakeholders, emphasizes the need for the overall programme review to evaluate the role of the WHO Secretariat in implementing the GSPOA and also evaluate the use of public health related TRIPS flexibilities by member States, taking into consideration the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines;

Recognizing the need to ensure access to new hepatitis medicines at affordable prices for all patients;

Expressing its grave concern about the negative impacts of unilateral coercive measures in the field of international relations, trade, investment and cooperation and its serious adverse impacts on public health;

Expressing also concern over the deteriorating health conditions in the occupied State of Palestine, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan, as a result of health-jeopardizing measures perpetuated by Israel, the occupying power;

Decide to adopt the following actions aimed at improving the health conditions of all people and reinforcing the global solidarity against international health challenges:
  1. Express its commitment for the full implementation of health-related issues of the NAM Declaration adopted by XVII NAM Summit Head of States and Governments, Margarita Island, Caracas 2016.
  2. Requests the Director General to, in consultation with Member States, to ensure that the Organization plays a leading role in the implementation and review of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals by making improvements as may be required on WHO’s priorities and methods of work;
  3. Request WHO and Member States to mobilize additional resources necessary for reaching Universal health coverage which is key target for achievement of other SDGs;
  4. Request WHO to support Member States in their efforts on building resilient health systems and their efforts to prevent, detect and contain current and future outbreaks;
  5. Request the WHO to undertake broad consultations on the blueprint for research and development preparedness and response for potentially epidemic diseases, ensuring sufficient representation of low and middle income countries in scientific and expert advisory groups on specific elements of the blueprint, particularly on the development of norms and standards on sharing of data and samples, and also ensure policy coherence between the blueprint and the broader WHO R&D agenda, including adherence to the principles of affordability, effectiveness, efficiency and equity and the objective of de-linkage and the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) for all collaborations related to the R&D blueprint;
  6. Call upon the WHO to support member states in developing IHR core capacities to be integrated within the overall health system at national level; 
  7. Call upon WHO to support health Systems in developing countries, in order to enhance capacity for assessing and monitoring health vulnerability, risks and impacts due to climate change; identify strategies and actions to protect human health, particularly peoples of the most vulnerable situations; and share knowledge and good practices;
  8. Call on the WHO to ensure effective implementation of the FENSA, particularly the development, in consultation with member States, of a set of criteria and principles for secondments from non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions, in accordance with resolution WHA69.10, and also call for resuming discussions for developing a comprehensive WHO conflict of interest policy;
  9. Call upon donor countries to honor their commitments to allocate 0.7% of their gross domestic product as official development assistance, and urge donors to support international cooperation programmes on health, and strengthening national health systems through capacity building and technology transfer to achieve the common goal of building resilient health systems;
  10. Encourage Member States to make full use of the flexibilities available under the WTO TRIPS Agreement, including those recognized by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and the WTO decision of 30 August 2003, in order to address the public health needs of developing countries, including by adopting and applying rigorous definitions of invention and patentability, adopting and implementing legislations that facilitates the issuance of compulsory licenses, and by ensuring that bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements do not include provisions that may undermine the full use of TRIPS flexibilities for public health;
  11. p jointly strategic alliances to produce drugs and supplies for health, through international cooperation with the guarantee of fair prices;
  12. Continue the efforts to the reverse the situation of poverty and social exclusion that determine the health of our peoples;
  13. Recognizing the importance to share experiences to promote good nutrition and physical activity, to eliminate overweight and associated diseases;
  14. Establish ways to ensure breastfeeding and adequate food in all life cycles in accordance, promoting the exchange of successful experiences in the field;
  15. Requests the WHO to provide support to member States, upon request, on the implementation of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 in accordance with WHA resolution 69.19;
  16. Encourage Member States to continue to meet their commitments with regards to reducing child mortality and improve maternal health and further encouraging all efforts at national, regional and international levels to address this challenge.
  17. Welcome the report of the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health entitled “Keeping Promises, Measuring Results” and call upon all partners to consider its recommendations towards ensuring rapid progress in maternal and child health;
  18. Welcome the report on addressing the challenges of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011−2020): outcome of the Second Global High-level Conference on Road Safety– Time for Results and Requests the WHO to provide support to Member States in implementing evidence-based policies and practices to improve road safety and to mitigate and reduce road traffic injuries in line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  19. Encourage Member States to continue to meet their commitments with regards to the implementation of the Political Declarations on HIV/AIDs and call upon them to scale up their efforts comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support, and towards ambition of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030; further call upon all States, especially developed countries to implement fully these commitments; and urge international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the business sector to support national efforts and priorities;
  20. Reaffirm the sovereign rights of Member States, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and the need for all countries to implement the commitments and pledges in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS consistent with national laws, national development priorities and international human rights;
  21. Welcomes the establishment of the expert advisory group, and the processes outlined to facilitate the first review of the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (A68/32) and requests the Director General to work closely with Member States and other organizations in the United Nations System to help implement the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel;
  22. Take note of World Health Assembly resolutions WHA61.14 and WHA66.10, United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/2 and United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution E/RES/2013/12, the Report by the Secretariat on follow-up to the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and the outcome document of the 2014 high-level meeting adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 68/300; and recalling the commitment of the NAM to support the success of the third High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases in 2018;
  23. Urge relevant international organizations to continue to provide technical assistance and capacity-building to developing countries, especially to the least developed countries, in the areas of non-communicable disease prevention and control and promotion of access to medicines for all, including through the full use of flexibilities and exceptions provided in intellectual property rights;
  24. Take note of the fifth meeting of the Member State mechanism on   substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products  (A/70/23) and its recommendation to the 70 WHA to not use the term “counterfeit” to refer to quality-compromised medical products, and support the continuation of the work of the member State mechanism;
  25. Note the report by the Secretariat on addressing the global shortage of and access to medicines and vaccines (A70/20), and emphasize that the technical definitions of medicines and vaccines shortages and stockouts should make a clear distinction between shortages and stockouts, in accordance with resolution WHA69.25, taking due account of access and affordability, and should not be limited to issues of supply chain malfunctions;
  26. Welcome the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and request the WHO to evaluate these recommendations;
  27. Note the Report by the Secretariat on WHO reform and overview of reform implementation (A/70/50) that summarizes the progress of WHO reform since the Sixty-Ninth World Health Assembly, and urge WHO that in each of the three areas of reform (programmes and priority-setting, governance and management) to ensure development-oriented norm setting in the field of global public health, to preserve its nature as a member-State driven inter-governmental organization and to proceed with the reform process according to the principles of fairness, equity, inclusiveness and transparency.
  28. Note the WHO Director-General Report on the Review of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (A70/17), and the decision EB140 (5) of the Executive Board extending the existing proportion of allocation of partnership contributions between pandemic preparedness measures and response activities, and requesting the Director-General to make a new proposal on allocation of partnership contributions for the consideration of the Executive Board at its 142nd session;
  29. Request the World Health Organization and international financial organizations to provide full logistical and financial support to the affected countries affected by the emergence and spread of pandemics, to combat such pandemics promptly and effectively as well as to provide adequate assistance to affected countries to prevent further outbreaks;
  30. Take note of the Director General’s report on Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (A70/22) and expressing concern that global health Research and Development (R&D) is currently not being aligned with the fulfilling of priority health requirements of developing countries, call for the commencement of discussions on the negotiation of an R&D Treaty as a major outstanding issue from the CEWG report, and emphasize the importance of adopting measures to ensure financial sustainability of mechanisms such as the Global Observatory and the need to ensure adherence to FENSA in relation to the Expert Committee and voluntary pooled fund, and also emphasize the need to ensure implementation of the CEWG principles in all areas of WHO work on health R&D
  31. Urge Member States to strengthen health R&D capacities and to increase investments in health R&D for diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries; and to promote capacity building, transfer of technology, production of health products in developing countries, and health R&D and access to health products in developing countries through investments and sustainable collaboration;
  32. Request the WHO to support and assist countries in implementing International Health Regulations (2005);
  33. Request the WHO and member states to ensure that the Global Development and Stewardship Framework is consistent with the Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance, particularly integrating capacity building for low and middle income countries for combating antimicrobial resistance, ensuring affordable access to existing and new antimicrobial drugs as well as vaccines and diagnostic tools, and support approaches for financing R&D and product procurement consistent with delinkage of the cost from the price;
  34. To thank to the Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, for the progress achieved under her leadership and wishing all the best to the new DG elected in the 70 World Health Assembly.
  35. Request Member States, relevant international organizations and specialized agencies, in accordance with their respective mandates, to put an end to the violations committed by Israel, the occupying power, to the health situation in the occupied Palestinian territory including with regard to lifting the siege and its implications on the health situation, and to providing necessary support and assistance therein;
  36. Requests member States, relevant international organizations and specialized agencies, to act in accordance with their respective mandates as to put an end to the health related violations committed by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Syrian Golan, to ensure a functioning health system, and to provide the necessary support and assistance to the Syrian population, including through implementing all relevant WHO resolutions;
  37. Decide to convene the 11th Meeting of NAM Ministers of Health on the second day of the 71st World Health Assembly, May 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland;
  38. The NAM Ministers of Health express sincere congratulations and appreciation to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the successful preparation and organization of the 10th Meeting of NAM Ministers of Health.

By Adriano Timossi, South Centre

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