On 21 November 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the annotated agenda for the 140th session of its Executive Board (EB) which will take place from 23 January 2017 to 1 February 2017. In the words of the WHO Secretariat,
The Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for 3-year terms.
The main Executive Board meeting, at which the agenda for the forthcoming Health Assembly is agreed upon and resolutions for forwarding to the Health Assembly are adopted, is held in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly, for more administrative matters.
The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work
As noted by WHO, “[i]n January 2017, WHO’s Executive Board will draw up a short list of 5 candidates” (Source: http://www.who.int/dg/election/en/). The 34 Members of the Executive Board will interview the 5 remaining candidates and winnow the field to a slate of 3 candidates to be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2017.
Agenda item 4 of EB140 deals with the WHO Director-General election process:
4. Post of Director-General
4.1 Nomination of candidates
4.2 Draft contract
4.3 Options for the conduct of the election on the basis of paper-based voting
Agenda item 7 of the Executive Board’s agenda deals with preparedness, surveillance and response including: 1) Health emergencies, 2) Antimicrobial resistance, 3) Poliomyelitis, 4) Implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) and 5) Review of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.
Under health emergencies, the Board will discuss, inter alia, the WHO response in severe, large-scale emergencies, research and development for potentially epidemic diseases and the review of the pandemic influenza preparedness framework. On research and development for potentially epidemic diseases, the annotated agenda notes:
At the request of a Member State, the Secretariat will provide information on the progress made to improve research and development for potentially epidemic diseases. The report will describe activities undertaken through the WHO research and development blueprint mechanism in order to reduce the time between the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern and the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines that can be used to save lives and avert a large-scale crisis.
Agenda item 8 deals with “health systems” and includes a discussion on, inter alia, addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines, evaluation and review of the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property and Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG).
On the CEWG, the Secretariat notes:
8.5 Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination
The Secretariat report, prepared in response to requests made by the Health Assembly in resolution WHA69.23 (2016), will present the following: terms of reference and a costed workplan of the Global Observatory on Health Research and Development; a proposal with goals and an operational plan for a voluntary pooled fund to support research and development; and terms of reference for a WHO Expert Committee on Health Research and Development.
On agenda item 10 on Noncommunicable diseases, at the request of Jordan, the WHO Secretariat has placed an agenda item (10.5) on Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach. The annotated agenda notes:
10.5 Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach
At the request of a Member State, the Secretariat has developed a report outlining the disease burden and trends in relation to cancer; national cancer strategies undertaken as part of national multisectoral efforts to address noncommunicable diseases that are proving to be effective; and WHO’s activities, and other international efforts, to meet the global challenge posed by cancer. The Board will be invited to note the report and to consider the draft resolution contained therein.