WTO, Others Outline Further Collaboration against COVID-19

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The Directors-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have agreed to enhance their support to members battling COVID-19.

This, they intend to do by collaborating on a series of workshops to augment the flow of information on the pandemic and by implementing a joint platform for tripartite technical assistance to member governments relating to their needs for medical technologies.

This was contained in a joint statement signed by the Director Generals of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; WIPO, Daren Tang, and WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

They noted that acutely conscious of the shared responsibility to communities across the world as they confront a health crisis of unprecedented severity and scale, “we pledged to bring the full extent of the expertise and resources of our respective institutions to bear in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and improving the health and well-being of all people, everywhere around the globe.”

The statement added: “We underscored our commitment to universal, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other health technologies — a commitment anchored in the understanding that this is an urgent moral imperative in need of immediate practical action.”

In this spirit, they agreed to build further on their long-standing commitment to WHO-WIPO-WTO Trilateral Cooperation that aims to support and assist all countries as they seek to assess and implement sustainable and integrated solutions to public health challenges.

“Within this existing cooperative framework, we agreed to enhance and focus our support in the context of the pandemic through two specific initiatives.

“First, our three agencies will collaborate on the organisation of practical, capacity-building workshops to enhance the flow of updated information on current developments in the pandemic and responses to achieve equitable access to COVID-19 health technologies.

“The aim of these workshops is to strengthen the capacity of policymakers and experts in member governments to address the pandemic accordingly,” the statement added.

They explained that the first workshop in the series would be a workshop on technology transfer and licensing, scheduled for September.

“The workshop will help our members update their knowledge and understanding of how intellectual property, know-how and technology transfer work in actuality.

“This would be in the context of medical technologies and related products and services. This first workshop will be followed by others on related practical themes,” the statement added.