INB 3: KEI statement on the proposed Enlarged Conference of the Parties (E-COP)

On 7 December 2022, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered the following statement on the proposed Enlarged Conference of the Parties (E-COP) 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).

KEI statement on the proposed Enlarged Conference of the Parties (E-COP)

KEI would like to flag our concerns about the proposed Enlarged Conference of the Parties, or the E-COP contained in Article 19. We note that the membership of the E-COP is open to representatives of any non-government or private sector entity that are considered “relevant stakeholders.” To KEI, this is a proposal to put the IFPMA and other industry groups on the E-COP, as well as the Gates Foundation. We object to putting representatives of any commercial interests on the E-COP, and we also have long expressed concern about the excessive influence that the Gates Foundation has exercised in the field of global health. With board seats on the Global Fund, UNITAID, CEPI, a permanent seat on the GAVI board, and immense influence at other UN agencies and the World Bank, as well as on countless other bodies, enough is enough, and putting this foundation on the E-COP will further exacerbate a problem many WHO members have yet acknowledge and address, and that is the excessive influence of a single person on global health policies. The Gates Foundation makes many important contributions, but there needs to be balance in terms of governance.


Thiru Balasubramaniam is the Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International. Prior to his post as KEI’s Geneva Representative, Mr. Balasubramaniam worked at Health Action International in Colombo and at the World Health Organization in Geneva as a technical officer in the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy dealing with access to medicines and intellectual property. He began his career with CPTech working on issues related to health care and intellectual property. Mr. Balasubramaniam holds a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in European History from the University of Pennsylvania.