PSI initiates official relations with WHO and joins the G2H2

01 June 2017
PSI commenced the process of establishing official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) in May, 2017, to conclude this before the end of July. This is in line with the WHO Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA), established last year by the 69th World Health Assembly.

FENSA was instituted to promote WHO’s engagement as the global directing and coordinating authority in global health with international non-state actors who play significant roles in protecting and promoting public health. It replaces the Principles governing relations between the World Health Organization and nongovernmental organizations, adopted by the 40th World Health Assembly, and the WHO’s Guidelines on interaction with commercial enterprises to achieve health outcome.

Thus, as presently formulated, FENSA enables “nongovernmental organizations, international business associations and philanthropic foundations”, who “have a sustained and systematic engagement in the interest” of the WHO to enter into official relations with the Organization. This is granted by the WHO Executive Board, which meets in January every year. Non-State actors in such official relations can attend governing body meetings of the WHO.

This would give PSI an official voice in defense of health workers and for a better future with public health for all, at the highest levels of international health policy-formulation structures and mechanisms.

In line with its commitment to broadening the frontiers of its relations, alliances and coalitions, PSI is also joining the Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2), which was formed in May 2016. G2H2 is a membership-based association of organisations and institutions across the world, “building a strong civil society space in Geneva for more democratic global health.” It provides a space and enables civil society to meet, share knowledge and create initiatives to advocate for more democratic global health governance.

In a related development, PSI is furthering collaboration with the People’s Health Movement by participating in its World Health Assembly Watch this year, for the first time. The WHA Watch brings together a select group of young activists and scholars from across the world, who deliberate on the issues slated for discussion at the WHA. The participants develop and present civil society statements on the issues.

Ms Lena Vennberg, a 27-year-old registered nurse who works in primary care and serves on her local board as an elected trade union representative, is blazing the trail as the young “Watcher” from PSI for the 70th WHA Watch. She is a member of Vardforbundet, Sweden.

This article is an extract from the “Right to Health” newsletter issue 02/2017. Subscribe to the newsletter. Send us your stories.

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