Geneva meetings and events:
Global health and related sectors

42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council
Sep 9 – Sep 27 all-day

“The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.”

HRC42 documentation: OHCHR website
HRC42 on Twitter: #HRC42
SRHR: What to expect at HRC42 (by SRI)

Meaningful Breakfast Conversation: “Commercial Determinants of Health”
Sep 20 @ 7:45 – 9:00

“In the past few decades there has been an epidemiological transition in health with a reduction in mortality and morbidity due to infectious and communicable diseases and an increase in non-communicable and chronic diseases (NCDs). NCDs such as cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, mental diseases and  violence are the leading contributors to the Global Burden of Disease. Many NCDs share common risk factors among these are smoking, alcohol and poor diet which together cause more than twenty million deaths per year worldwide. Effective action to mitigate these risks is often subverted by powerful commercial interests. What solutions can be proposed?

About our speaker – Hooman Momen

Hooman Momen is a biochemist with a Ph. D in Parasitology. He has worked as a scientist with the Ministry of Health of Brazil for most of his career. In 2001 he was seconded to work at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva where he worked for 13 years. Among his duties at WHO he was the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and co-ordinator of the WHO Press. He is currently retired.

We look forward to seeing you.”

Source/Registration: Impact Hub

World Mental Health Day 2019: focus on suicide prevention
Oct 10 all-day

“World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October, is an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This year, the theme is suicide prevention. Every year close to 800 000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout life and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally.”

Source: WHO
We do not yet have any information about Geneva events related to WMHD2019

Week of Peoples Mobilisation for a a UN Binding Treaty for Transnational Corporations on Human Rights
Oct 12 – Oct 19 all-day

“In June 2014, the Human Rights Council finally resolution 26/9 on the elaboration of an International legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. This was a historic achievement after decades of discussions and failed attempts within the United Nations. Such a legally binding Instrument is essential for two dimensions of the Global Campaign’s work: to end corporate impunity, and address the systemic power of transnational corporations which has reached unprecedented impacts on the daily lives of affected communities.

The Global Campaign will convene a Week of Peoples Mobilisation at the occasion of the 5th Session of the OEIGWG in Geneva from 12 to 19 October (more details coming soon).”

Source/more information: Global Campaign website

See also: 5th Session of OEIGWG

Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, fifth session
Oct 14 – Oct 18 all-day

“At its 26th session, on 26 June 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9 by which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.”

The fourth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) took place from 15-19 October 2018 in Room XX of the Palais des Nations, Geneva. During that session, the Working Group discussed the zero draft legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, as well as the zero draft optional protocol annexed to the instrument.

Ahead of the fifth session, the Permanent Mission of Ecuador, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the OEIGWG, released a revised draft legally binding instrument on business activities and human rights. The revised draft will serve as the basis for direct substantive intergovernmental negotiations during the fifth session of the OEIGWG, to be held from 14 to 18 October 2019, in Geneva.”

Source/information/enquiries: OHCHR website
See also: Week of Peoples Mobilisation

Trilateral Symposium to address opportunities and challenges of cutting-edge health technologies
Oct 31 all-day

“The 8th joint Technical Symposium, organized by the WTO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will address the importance of innovation in, and access to, cutting-edge health technologies to ensure progress towards universal health coverage and the achievement of the health-related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event will take place on 31 October 2019 at the WTO.

Scientific progress and advances in health technologies, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostics, assistive products, cell- and gene-based therapies, and other health technologies, have contributed to unprecedented improvements in health outcomes.

Biotechnology has created new diagnostic tools and treatment methods as well as innovative biotherapeutic pharmaceutical products. Information technology (IT) has entered all relevant health fields and is used by health administration professionals to facilitate healthcare data management. Medical and assistive devices can produce a wealth of data as they fulfil their therapeutic functions. Such data can be used as an empirical basis for system-wide improvements. IT also plays an increasing role in diagnosis, research and development (R&D), and treatment, including efforts to provide more personalized treatment to patients.

However, significant challenges remain. Gains in life expectancy and quality of life are unequally distributed among low-, middle- and high-income countries, and inequities also persist within countries. To bridge these gaps and to tackle the evolving global disease burden requires needs-driven research, technological advances that address specific diseases as well as access to, and affordability of, new treatments.

Agenda and key issues

The Directors-General of the three organizations will open the Symposium. The first panel will then review the landscape of cutting-edge technologies. Panellists will discuss perspectives on future health outcomes through biotechnology, information technology and big data as applied in the medical and medical devices sectors.

The second panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges of optimising the benefits of these new technologies from a health, intellectual property (IP) and trade perspective, considering how these policy mechanisms can function together in the most effective way. Panellists will also address increasing costs for healthcare systems, access and affordability challenges, and possible country options to facilitate wider use of these technologies as well as the use of confidential patient information data and resulting ethical considerations.

To mark ten years of more closely coordinated trilateral cooperation between the WHO, WIPO and the WTO, each organization will give an update of recent work with a bearing on the themes of the Symposium. The draft programme is available here.

Participation is open to all interested individuals and organizations. Online registration is available here. The deadline for registration is 24 October 2019.


This year marks the ten-year anniversary of more focused cooperation between the secretariats of WHO, WIPO and the WTO regarding matters at the crossroads of health, trade and IP. This trilateral cooperation canvasses a broad range of matters falling under the responsibilities of the three organizations, including patterns of innovation and access, factors affecting the production and dissemination of medical technologies, and the interplay between public health, international trade rules and the intellectual property system. The cooperation stems from the understanding that the organizations can more effectively deliver on the mandates assigned to them through a process of coordination and collaboration, with due respect for each other’s technical expertise.

As part of their efforts to provide technical support and to build a platform of factual evidence for decision-makers, the organizations have held seven joint technical symposia since 2010. These have reviewed a range of topical issues at the intersection of health, trade and IP, with a concentration on the evolving needs for public health.

The Trilateral Study on ‘Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation’ has informed policy makers and the public in an accessible, systematic format about the wide range of factors that affect innovation and access in the health sector as well as the policy options that are available to them.

The cooperation of the three organizations is characterized by active, fact-based dialogue, coordination and partnership, leading to more effective and tailored capacity-building activities.”

Source and registration: WTO website