On 6 December 2022, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered the following statement on Chapter III (Achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health system) of the conceptual zero draft at the third session of the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (INB).
Chapter III. Achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems
Our statement will focus on Chapter III. KEI welcomes language on transparency, including but not limited to provisions in Articles 6 and Articles 8, although we reiterate our recommendation that transparency have its own chapter or article in the treaty.
Article 6(a)(ii)calls on Parties to implement “measures to promote and encourage transparency in cost and pricing of pandemic response products, including development, production and distribution costs.”
We support the proposals in Article 8 that there be requirements for companies to disclose prices and contractual terms for public procurement in times of pandemics, and that treaty members collaborate to collect and publish information on R&D costs, public sector subsidies, patent landscapes and other items. Delegates may want to review WHA72.8 to appreciate the specific items that can be addressed. The WHO should be given a role to develop standards and public repositories for some of the information disclosed.
In relation to the transfer of technology, we oppose deletion of references to “know-how” in Article 7 of the text.
On IPRs, governments should agree to collectively use appropriate exceptions to intellectual property rights that are permitted in existing trade agreements and treaties. A model for this is the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind, which mandates its members to use exceptions to enhance global access to works made accessible to persons who are blind or have other disabilities.
Among the exceptions that should be mandatory are those relating to research exceptions, and also, in the area of copyright and related rights, text and data mining exceptions, in order to ensure that new emerging and powerful artificial intelligence tools are available.
The treaty should create two types of obligations on governments that are triggered with the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. One, governments should condition public R&D funding on agreements to provide meaningful technology transfer). Two, governments should cooperate to provide mandates, subsidies and incentives to the private sector to engage in technology transfer to qualified entities, even when that knowledge is not financed by the public sector.