Geneva meetings and events:
Global health and related sectors

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), 17 Session
Mar 20 – Apr 12 all-day

“The seventeenth session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be held from 20 March until 12 April at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, during which the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Moldova, Iran, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Armenia, Honduras and Canada will be examined.

At the opening of the session at 3 p.m. on Monday, 20 March, the Committee will hear a statement from a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, swear in newly elected members of the Committee, elect the Chair and other officers, and adopt its agenda and programme of work.  The Chair will present the report on activities undertaken between the sixteenth and seventeenth sessions of the Committee, and the cooperation with other United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, organizations of persons with disabilities and other competent bodies, will be discussed.

During the session, the Committee will review initial reports of eight countries: the review of the report of the Republic of Moldova (CRPD/C/MDA/1) will start on 21 March; Iran (CRPD/C/IRN/1) on 22 March; Cyprus (CRPD/C/CYP/1) on 23 March; Bosnia and Herzegovina (CRPD/C/BIH/1) on 27 March, Jordan (CRPD/C/JOR/1) on 28 March, Armenia (CRPD/C/ARM/1) on 29 March, Honduras (CRPD/C/HND/1) on 30 March and Canada (CRPD/C/CAN/1) on 3 April.

In private meetings, the Committee will consider the complaints submitted under the Optional Protocol to the Convention and the conduct of inquiries; review the progress made by the working group on the right to live independently and to be included in the community, established to draft a general comment on article 19; and consider the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/268 on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system.  Also, the Committee will adopt a list of issues on the report of Panama and lists of issues prior to reporting on El Salvador, Hungary, Peru and Spain, and will also adopt its biennial report to the General Assembly and to the Economic and Social Council.

The country reports and other documents before the Committee including the programme of work, are accessible on its webpage, where the Committee’s findings, officially termed concluding observations, on the countries reviewed, will also be published.  Detailed meeting coverage can be found in English and French on the United Nations Information Service Geneva’s webpage.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Adopted on 13 December 2006 by the General Assembly, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force on 3 May 2008.  It is the first human rights treaty to be ratified by a regional integration organization, the European Union.

The Convention adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities, reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and promotes respect for their inherent dignity. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the body of 18 independent experts, monitors the implementation of the Convention by States parties. The Optional Protocol to the Convention gives the Committee competence to examine individual complaints with regard to alleged violations of the Convention by States parties to the Protocol.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.  Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

States parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.  States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.  Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.

States parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and have committed themselves to take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.  States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.  States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.

Each State party is obliged to submit to the Committee, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a comprehensive report on measures taken to give effect to its obligations under the present Convention and on the progress made in that regard, within two years after the entry into force of the present Convention for the State Party concerned.  Thereafter, States parties shall submit subsequent reports at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so requests.

Source: UNOG

21st Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines (WHO)
Mar 27 – Mar 31 all-day

“The meeting of the 21st WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines will be held at WHO Headquarters, Geneva, from 27 to 31 March 2017 to revise and update the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) including Essential Medicines for Children (EMLc).

Applications to be considered by the Expert Committee for inclusion of new medicines, and changes to or deletion of currently listed medicines in the EML and EMLc are now available via the link below for public review and comment. Comments may be made until 24 February 2017 and will be published on this webpage, along with all other documents relating to the meeting of the Expert Committee.

Comments on the applications may be submitted via email or in hard copy and should be directed to:

The Secretary
Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines
Innovation, Access and Use (IAU)
Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products
20 Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27”

Source: WHO

A Conversation with… Nellie Bristol, Senior Fellow, CSIS (at the Global Health Centre)
Mar 30 @ 15:00 – 16:00

“The provision of global public goods is a key ingredient to effective and sustainable development. In this context, recognising polio eradication as a global public good is important because, among others, it allows to extend the responsibility of completing the eradication efforts to the global community.

It is hoped that the last cases of polio anywhere in the world caused by the wildtype polio virus will be seen this year, concluding a three-decade programme by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Having invested $20 billion USD in the effort, the world cannot afford the risks of not finishing the job. The ending of polio will have also major implications for:

  • WHO, as a large flow of funding ceases and personnel are released;
  • countries that need to transition polio assets and use them to strengthen their national health systems and reinforce routine immunization; and
  • development partners as they strive to preserve global resilience to the prevent the possible return of polio while turning the focus of their attention to other global health priorities.

The Global Health Centre (GHC) has invited Nellie Bristol to discuss the political and governance challenges in global health and what this means for polio eradication. The event will be moderated by Professor Stephen Matlin, Senior Fellow of the GHC.

NELLIE BRISTOL-1.jpg Nellie Bristol,
Senior Fellow,
Global Health Policy Center, CSIS

Nellie Bristol is a Senior Fellow in the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. She has explored the role that the United States government has played in polio eradication and how best to convert that investment into sustained global health gains. Her recent reports focused on US polio eradication support and transition of polio infrastructure to other health activities in India and Ethiopia. She also writes about US government relations with multilateral organizations, including the WHO and the World Bank Group. Among her recent reports are: Planning a Post-Polio Future (December 2016) and The U.S. Role in Global Polio Eradication (December 2012). Bristol came to CSIS following a long career as a health policy journalist. Bristol has written for top publications in the field, including The Lancet, Health Affairs, and Congressional Quarterly, covering HIV/AIDS policy, foreign aid and national security, noncommunicable diseases, and efforts to combat maternal mortality. She has a master’s degree in public health/global health from George Washington University.

Join us for this conversation – The floor is yours!”
You are required to register online your attendance, free of charge.
For more information, please visit the event website
or contact

Source: Global Health Centre

2017 World Health Day: Depression – let’s talk
Apr 7 all-day

“World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme of 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.


Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.

Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.”

Source: WHO


WHO “Facebook event”

“On World Health Day, mental health experts from the World Health Organization will explain what depression is and how it can be prevented and treated. The panel will take questions from our Facebook followers on depression. More information will be available on in the days leading up to the event.”

Why is the G20 Getting Interested in Health? (Graduate Institute)
Apr 11 @ 13:30 – 14:30

A lunch briefing with Ilona Kickbusch, Adjunct Professor, Interdisciplinary Programmes, at the Graduate Institute.

Source, registration: Graduate Institute

NTD Summit 2017
Apr 19 – Apr 21 all-day


“2017 marks the 5th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the London Declaration. To celebrate this milestone, Uniting to Combat NTDs, the World Health Organization and the NTD community are hosting the NTD Summit in Geneva, Switzerland in April 2017.

NTD Summit - Geneva, Switzerland - 19 to 22 April 2017

We’ll celebrate the community’s achievements over the past 5 years and plan for the future as we aim to control, eliminate and eradicate 10 neglected tropical diseases. The summit will include technical discussions with our partners to define a clear path towards the 2020 goals and beyond.



  • Wednesday, 19 April (daytime): Second Global Partners’ Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases
    This event is being hosted by the World Health Organization at their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Invitations for this event are being sent by the WHO.
  • Wednesday, 19 April (evening): Evening reception and dinner hosted by Uniting to Combat NTDs
    The reception will celebrate the tremendous progress that has been made in combatting NTDs since the signing of the London Declaration and the WHO roadmap on NTDs and honour the contribution of women in the delivery of NTD programmes.
  • Thursday, 20 April to Saturday, 22 April: NTD community meetings
    These partner meetings will involve technical discussions to define a clear path towards the 2020 NTD goals and beyond.

Please email us if you have any questions about the summit.
You can RSVP for the evening reception, the NTD Summit or both events using our registration site.”

Source: Uniting to Combat NTDs

Tripartite Meeting on Improving Employment and Working Conditions in Health Services
Apr 24 – Apr 27 all-day
“The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss decent work strategies that effectively address health workforce shortages, as a prerequisite to enable provision of equal access to health care for all in need, with a view to adopting conclusions on future programme development and to inform policy-making on the selected topic at the international, regional and national levels.”
Source: ILO
World Malaria Day event: Be the generation to end malaria. Vernissage of photographic exhibition (Swiss Malaria Group)
Apr 25 @ 16:00 – 19:00

“To mark this year’s World Malaria Day, 25 April, the Swiss Malaria Group will announce the winners of its worldwide #EndMalaria Photo and Video Contest.

We cordially invite you to the inauguration of a photographic exhibition at the Quai side in Geneva: “Be the generation to end malaria” that will display the winning images and the most impressive pictures and stories submitted to the contest.

The exhibition is open to the public and is being kindly hosted by the City of Geneva on Rotonde du Mont-Blanc at the lakeside.

DATE: TUESDAY APRIL 25, 2017 16:00-19:00
LANGUAGE: English-French
VENUE: Geneva, award ceremony and apéro: Restauration Bains des Paquis, Quai du Mont-Blanc 30, afterwards inauguration of the exhibition at the Rotonde du Mont-Blanc

Please register now to receive further information.”

Look beyond © Somenath Mukhopadhyay for Swiss Malaria Group

Source: Swiss Malaria Group (e-mail communication)

Third WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices
May 10 – May 12 all-day

“Considering that Member States recognized in resolution WHA60.29 and WHA67.20 that medical devices are indispensable for health care delivery but their selection, regulation and use present enormous challenges, the 3rd WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices is to be presented 10 years later to discuss the achievements that have been made in the field and the enormous challenges in low and middle income countries. This will also serve as an opportunity to share the WHO EMP strategy in the framework of Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO organized the 1st Global Forum in Bangkok in 2010 and the 2nd in Geneva in 2013, which had around 700 participants from 110 Member States. These fora have been the primary setting for dissemination and sharing of information on medical devices for Global Health. The programme includes presentation of best practices, challenges, and new tools for innovation, regulation, assessment, and management (procurement, technical specifications, donations, maintenance and appropriate safe use) of medical devices, as well as presentation the list of medical devices by health care facility, disease or clinical interventions.

The 3rd Global Forum on Medical Devices will be organized in Geneva, 10 to 12 May 2017. It will take place in the Geneva Conference Center. It will include: plenary , panels, parallel sessions, workshops, exhibition and poster sessions. These will build on the success of the 1st Global Forum in Bangkok, 2013 and 2nd Global Forum in Geneva 2013

Objectives of the meeting:

  • To define methods of increasing access to priority medical devices under Universal Health Coverage in compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals
  • To share evidence of best practices in regulating, assessment and management of medical devices
  • To demonstrate development and use of innovative appropriate affordable technologies to respond to global health priorities
  • To share WHO tools and guidelines on medical devices for better implementation
  • To present the outcomes of the implementation of the World Health Assembly resolutions on medical devices and the EMP strategy for 2030″

Source: WHO

WHO Watch: 70th World Health Assembly (People’s Health Movement)
May 15 – Jun 1 all-day

“People’s Health Movement is preparing for watching the 70th meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA70) taking place from 22nd May to 31st May 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.

PHM believes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the legitimate space for global health policy making. Through the WHO Watch initiative, PHM intervenes in the discussion of WHO’s key decisions making bodies and brings the voice of the movements struggling for Health for All to the forefront. In addition, we use this opportunity to organise a capacity building workshop for activists interested in the politics of global health governance. To know more about PHM’s WHO Watch Initiative, see the video here, or visit our website here.

Joining the Watch team

We are in the early stages of putting together the Watch. We hope to get watchers from around the world involved, consult with country circles on key issues, and develop a comprehensive commentary on issues on the agenda of the 70th WHA, which will be available online before the commencement of the WHA.

Consultations will be carried out to include inputs from around the world to the PHM commentary on key issues. This consultation will guide which issues are focused on in the commentary and at WHA meetings.

The week before the meeting, the watchers meet in Geneva during a preparatory workshop to prepare together the positions that PHM will be taking at the WHA and discuss issues of global health. This workshop is also open to activists interested in the politics of global health governance, even if you are not able to stay for the WHA.

During the meeting, we will have a skype channel open where the key points of the discussions will be shared.

A team of watchers will be present at the WHA and will engage with the issues addressed at the meeting by disseminating policy briefs and makes statements from the floor.

This is an opportunity for country circles to present their points of view at the WHA meetings, widen their networks and approaches to issues, as well as build internal capacity.

Some items on this year’s agenda are:

  • Election of Director General WHO
  • WHO reform implementation
  • WHO response in severe, large-scale emergencies
  • Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance
  • Implementation of International Health Regulations (2005)
  • Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
  • Human resources for health
  • Global shortage of medicines and vaccines
  • Public health, innovation and intellectual property
  • Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products
  • Global vaccine action plan
  • Global vector control response
  • NCDs: UN General Assembly 2018
  • Ending childhood obesity: implementation plan
  • Public health dimension of drug problem
  • Dementia
  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Poliomyelitis

The WHO will release documents with more information on each item as the meeting approaches here. However, if you find any of the items on the agenda of special importance or can offer information on the topic now, if you would like to be added to the skype channel or just know more about WHO Watch, let us know! You can write to Susana at <sbarria[at]> and Gargeya at <gargeya.t[at]>

Call for WHO Watchers: Can you attend the WHA70 Meeting?

Through Medicus Mundi International, watchers are able to attend the WHA/EB meeting, distribute PHM’s commentary, advocate our position to country delegates, and deliver statements from the floor to the meeting body.

We are looking for people who are involved with PHM country circles to attend the preparatory workshop and WHA meeting in Geneva. If you are keen in developing your knowledge on issues discussed at the meeting, and to be involved in strengthening the work around these issues in your country or region after the meeting, please let us know. Good English writing skills are necessary as you will have to take notes live in English and all the documents will be written in English. As the work is intense, being able to work under some pressure and still provide support to your co-watchers will be a great advantage. It will be necessary for you to carry a laptop with you. It is also important for the process if watchers are there for the full period of the meetings, including a preparatory workshop the week before the WHA. But you can also opt for attending only the preparatory workshop.

Time table: WHA May 2017

  • Arrival: Monday  15th May
  • Preparatory Workshop: 16th to 20th May
  • WHA: 22nd to 31st  May
  • Departure: Wednesday 31st May night or Thursday 1st June morning


Arrival Workshop WHA watch Departure
15th May 16th to 20th May 22nd to 31st May 31st May night or 1st June morning  (20th or 21st  May if you are only attending the workshop)


If you are interested to participate to the WHA70 please fill the form here, before 20th March 2017.


Contacting the Watch team

If you would like to join the team, have questions, or can help out in other ways (note that you do not have to attend the meeting to be part of the Watch team), don’t hesitate to contact: Susana at <sbarria[at]> and Gargeya at <gargeya.t[at]>”


Source: PHM-Exchange
Registration form: WHO Watch Volunteer Information

70th World Health Assembly and related civil society events
May 19 – May 31 all-day

The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place at the Palais des Nations from 22 to 31 May 2017. The provisional WHA agenda (document EB140/44) was discussed and – with some amendments – adopted by the WHO Executive Board in January. The WHA will be followed by the 141st session of the WHO Executive Board.

Civil society activities are expected to take place ahead of the World Health Assembly and throughout the WHA. We will collect and share incoming announcements on this space. Stay tuned!

WHO Governing Body Documentation: overview


4th International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC)
Jun 20 – Jun 23 all-day

“We are looking forward to welcoming you back to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 4th International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC), to be held from 20 to 23 June 2017.

By now, ICPIC has become an established entity in the field of international Infection Control and Prevention meetings, with an average of 1000 participants from 100+ countries for the prior 3 meetings. As a result, the 4th ICPIC will also offer a unique forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections and control of antimicrobial resistance around the world. Unless (new) emerging infections, posing a public health threat, arise, as it was the case during ICPIC 2015 with Ebola, the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance remains the foremost global threat confronting all countries alike. Once again, ICPIC will provide the necessary platform to share knowledge and exchange experience with regard to antimicrobial resistance and the prevention of healthcare-associated infections in general.

The current organizing/program committee now includes representatives from the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control (APSIC) and the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) to mobilize even more world experts and key opinion leaders to share their knowledge and expertise. ICPIC keynotes, symposia, Pro-Con debates, free-papers and meet-the-expert sessions will continue, as will the unique and very popular ICPIC Innovation Academy, and ICPIC video contests. While retaining the elements that led to the success of the first three ICPIC summits, and continue to boost the possibilities for exchange with your peers, we will surprise you again with new features, too.

We look forward to your active participation in the 4th ICPIC in June 2017, as well as to welcoming you to Geneva – please mark your calendars!”

Source: ICPIC website

2017 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights
Nov 27 – Nov 29 all-day

“The UN Forum is the world’s largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organisations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.

The 2017 Forum will have a major focus on the issue of access to remedy for business-related human rights impacts – the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In order to inform preparations, the Forum Secretariat is doing a mapping of ongoing research and projects linked to this topic. All stakeholders are encouraged to submit brief information about ongoing or planned research and projects for 2017-18 related to the issue of access to remedy in the context of business and human rights. The information should be submitted via this online form.”

Source: OHCHR website