Directors General of WHO, WIPO and the WTO have agreed on intensified cooperation in support of access to medical technologies worldwide to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have, since 2009, stepped up their cooperation and practical coordination on issues relating to public health, IP and trade.
This trilateral cooperation is intended to enhance the empirical and factual information basis for policy makers and to support them in addressing public health in relation to IP and trade.
It has entailed a series of practical technical assistance activities, at the national, regional and mulitilateral levels, a series of high-level Policy Symposia intended to track emerging issues and inform future policy, and the trilateral study, which provides a comprehensive overview of the full array of policy issues with bearing on innovation and access to medical technologies.
They have therefore agreed to map out further collaboration to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressing global challenges at the intersection of public health, intellectual property and trade.
A statement issued to newsmen from the WHO county office said they will enhance their support to members battling COVID-19 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.
The aim of these workshops they say is to strengthen the capacity of policymakers and experts in member governments to address the pandemic accordingly.
According to the statement, the workshop will help their members update their knowledge and understanding of how intellectual property, know-how and technology transfer work in actuality.
They underscored their 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.
Furthermore they have agreed to implement a joint platform for tripartite technical assistance to countries relating to their needs for COVID-19 medical technologies.
They will provide a one-stop shop that will make available the full range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters provided by our organizations, and other partners, in a coordinated and systematic manner.
They will also support countries to assess and prioritize unmet needs for COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and related technologies, and provide timely and tailored technical assistance in making full use of all available options to access vaccines, medicines and technologies,
The statement added that these initiatives will be underpinned by our joint efforts to collect and make accessible robust and inclusive data needed to guide an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.