The Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) today reaffirmed their commitment to working closely together to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating human, social, and economic impacts.
Meeting in Geneva on 1 February, 2022, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WIPO Director General Daren Tang and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reviewed progress made on the initiatives announced in their joint statement of 15 June 2021, pledging cooperation on COVID-19-related medical technologies and charting future directions for their organizations’ trilateral cooperation to ensure it continues to address the evolving needs of people across the globe.
They welcomed the impending launch of a trilateral technical assistance platform, which will provide a one-stop shop making available the three organizations’ expertise to governments in a tailored and coordinated way so as best to respond to individual national needs for COVID-19 health technologies. This will include support for the full use of legal and policy options for access to health technologies, including through the implementation of any solution to the COVID-19-related intellectual property proposals currently before the WTO’s TRIPS Council.
The three Directors-General reviewed the series of technical capacity building workshops planned , starting with a workshop held in September 2021 that focused on intellectual property licensing and technology transfer along with the sharing of know-how and clinical trial information. An event later this month will seek to support policymakers to more effectively use data to inform their pandemic policy choices, and a subsequent workshop will address challenges of access relating to diagnostic technologies.
The Directors-General welcomed the ongoing efforts by their three organizations to make up-to-date information available, including the series of joint COVID-19 information notes, supplementing and updating the 2020 joint publication “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation”.
Finally, the three Directors-General confirmed that they would convene a high-level policy symposium in the early summer on the COVID-19 pandemic, taking stock of COVID-19 challenges and focusing on what is needed to recover from this health crisis and better prepare for future ones.
The Directors-General concluded their meeting in a spirit of solidarity and practical determination to spare no effort to address the continuing scourge of the pandemic, and to mobilise the necessary knowledge resources and support so that no country would be left behind.