Geneva meetings and events:
Global health and related sectors

World Immunization Week 2017: #VaccinesWork
Apr 24 – Apr 30 all-day

“World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Today, there are still 19.4 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world.

Five years into the Decade of Vaccines

2017 marks the halfway point in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – endorsed by 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 – which aims to prevent millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020 through universal access to immunization.

Despite improvements in individual countries and a strong global rate of new vaccine introduction, all of the targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule. In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must make more concerted efforts to reach GVAP goals by 2020. Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made forward progress towards achieving the goals must work to sustain those efforts over time.

2017 Campaign objectives

World Immunization Week 2017 banner

The main goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunization throughout life, and its role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

As part of the 2017 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:

  • Highlight the importance of immunization as a top global health investment priority.
  • Promote understanding of the action steps required to achieve the Global Vaccine Action Plan.
  • Showcase immunization’s role in sustainable development and global health security.

Why immunization matters now more than ever

Expanding access to immunization is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Routine immunization is a building block of strong primary health care and universal health coverage—it provides a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the start.

Immunization is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, to providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.

Related links

Source: WHO
Geneva events: not yet known

Informal consultation on the WHO Handbook for non-State actors (WHO Secretariat)
May 5 @ 9:30 – 17:00

“Dear Representatives of non-State actors,

As you are aware, in May 2016, the 69th World Health Assembly adopted the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) as per resolution WHA69.10,.

For the implementation of the Framework, WHO is currently in the process of developing a handbook to guide non-State actors in their interaction with WHO. The Department of Partnerships and Non-State Actors would like to invite you to an informal consultation on Friday, 5th of May 2017, from 9:30 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 17.00, at WHO headquarters (EB Room). The sessions will be conducted in English.

The purpose of this meeting is to encourage dialogue and exchange of views and comments, so as to enrich the development of the Handbook for non-State actors. Please note that this invitation is addressed to non-State actors in official relations and WHO collaborating centres. We would appreciate your confirmation of participation to the email address , at the latest by May, 3rd  before COB. Your confirmation should indicate the name of the head of the delegation, the name(s) of the other representatives, function of each delegate in the non-State actor itself and, where appropriate, in an affiliated entity. Please note that for security clearance and issuance of badges, prior confirmation is mandatory for attending the meeting.

Please note that no documentation is necessary in preparation for the meeting. The agenda of the meeting will be circulated in due course.


In response to several requests, and in order to render this consultation as inclusive as possible, we have made arrangements so as to allow for virtual participation through the WebEx platform, providing potential participants the opportunity to remotely join the meeting. The WebEx platform will allow for participants to follow the consultation, as well as to give their views in written form during the course of the meeting.

If you wish to join the meeting via WebEx, please follow these instructions:

  1. Access the WebEx link:
  2. Type in the meeting number (access code): 641 116 115
  3. In the field “name”, also indicate the name of the entity you represent (e.g. John Smith – Entity XYZ)

Furthermore, in the same inclusive spirit, expressions of interest from non-State actors not in Official Relations, wishing to attend the meeting in person, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Kindly note that in accordance with paragraphs 44 and 45 of FENSA, WHO does not engage with the tobacco industry or non-State actors that work to further the interests of the tobacco industry. WHO also does not engage with the arms industry.

Kind regards,
Partnerships and non-State actors Secretariat”

Source: Communication by MMI Network

Implementing the Rights to Water and Sanitation (Graduate Institute)
May 8 @ 12:30 – 13:30

“The rights to water and sanitation enjoy increasing recognition under international law, as a result of General Comment 15 from the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Committee, the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, and the work of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Water. However, the international mechanisms for the implementation of these rights remain largely unexplored. This session will address this question from the perspective of environmental and health law, with particular emphasis on the UN-ECE Protocol on Water and Health and its compliance committee.

burci_00.jpg Gian Luca Burci, Adjunct Professor
International Law

Gian Luca Burci was named Adjunct Professor at the Institute in 2012. He has served in the Legal Office of the World Health Organization since 1998 and has been appointed Legal Counsel in 2005. Professor Burci previously served as Legal Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and in the United Nations Secretariat in New York for nearly a decade.
Vinuales_profile.jpg Jorge Vinuales, Adjunct Professor
International Law

Jorge E. Viñuales is the Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at the University of Cambridge and the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG). Previously, he held the Pictet Chair of International Environmental Law at the Graduate Institute.


Source and registration: Graduate Institute

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

NCD Alliance Webinar: preparations for the 70th World Health Assembly
May 10 @ 16:00 – 17:30

“The NCD Alliance will be holding our next webinar on Wednesday 10th May from 10:00–11:30 EDT // 16:00 – 17:30 CET. The webinar will focus on preparations for the 70th World Health Assembly, together with other current topics. A more detailed agenda will be sent in the coming weeks. In addition, we invite our participants to submit questions prior to the webinar by emailing us at in advance. Participants will also be able to send questions and feedback during the webinar.”

Source: NCD Alliance


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: Side events – an overview
May 19 – May 31 all-day

An overview of side events to the 70th World Health Assembly inside the Palais des Nations (“official side events”) and outside the Palais. First event announcements are already available, and many more are expected to be added to our list until the beginning of #WHA70. As a service to G2H2 members and partners and all WHA delegates, our overview is not limited to civil society side events, but also includes meetings organized by the WHO secretariat, WHO Member States and all other actors. In this sense, “publication does not necessarily mean endorsement”

FRIDAY 19 MAY 2017

10:00-17:00 hrs, Ecumenical Centre
“What is to be done to recover peoples’ sovereignty: Nutrition, food, global health and corporate power”. Civil Society Brainstorming Meeting
Organizer: G2H2 and its members
Host: WCC
Announcement: website


10:00-17:00 hrs, Ecumenical Centre
Civil Society Strategy Meeting
Session 1: Key agenda items of the World Health Assembly
Session 2: Focus on WHO governance
Organizers: G2H2 and its members, TWN, South Centre
Host: WCC
Announcement: website

SUNDAY 21 MAY 2017

13:00-14:30 hrs, Maison de la Paix
G2H2 Annual General Meeting
Organizer: Geneva Global Health Hub
Announcement: website

14:30-17:30, Hotel Starling
Cervical cancer: An NCD we can overcome
Organizer: Global Health Objectives
Announcement: website

15:00-18:00 hrs, Maison de la Paix
Introduction to the World Health Assembly: A Briefing for Delegates
Organizers: Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute and UN Foundation
Announcement: website

18:30-21:30, Hotel Intercontinental
Unsung Heroines of Health
Organizer: WGH and GE Foundation
Announcement: not yet available

MONDAY 22 MAY 2017

08:00-10:00 hrs, Hotel Intercontinental
Getting down to Business on Global Health Security: Developing Solutions Through Industry & Government Collaboration
Organizers: GHSA Private Sector Roundtable, Harvard Global Health Institute
Announcement: website

16:00-18:00 hrs, Club Suisse de la Presse
Enabling Global Health Security Through Health Systems Strengthening
Organizers: RM, MSH, USP, GHC
Announcement: website

17:45-18:45 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Responding to the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): Perspectives of Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organizations and Developing Countries
Organizers: MSF, DNDi, HAI, MMI
With the support of the South Centre and ReAct
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available

18:00-19:30 hrs, Hotel Intercontinental
Success Factors for NCDs: Pathways to Accelerate Progress
High-level event followed by a reception
Organizer: NCD Alliance
Announcement: website

18:30-20:00 hrs, Hotel Intercontinental
From Commitment to Action: Partnerships to Strengthen Surgical and Anaesthesia Care for All
Organizer: G4 Alliance and members, GE Foundation, Safe Surgery 2020
Announcement: website

19:00-20:00 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Investing in innovative health R&D tools to address antimicrobial resistance and achieve Sustainable Development Goals
Organizers: MMV, Cohred, GHC
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available


08:00 hrs, Restaurant Vieux Bois
Better Medicines for Children
Organizers: NCDChild, American Academy of Pediatrics, International Pediatric Association
Announcement: website

16:00-18:00 hrs, Club Suisse de la Presse
Againdst all Odds: Strengthening Health Systems to Better Serve Vulnerable Women and Children: Perspectives from Women Leaders
Organizer: MSH, GHC, USP
Announcement: website

16:00-18:00 hrs, UN Library Events Room (B-135)
How to ensure ageing with dignity (Roundtable)
Organizer: CSEND
Announcement: not yet available

18:00-20:30, Hotel Intercontinental
Partners For Better Health
Organizer: GE Foundation and Partners
Announcement: not yet available


Full day, WCC Ecumenical Centre
2nd Consultation on Global Ecumenical Health Strategy
Organizer: World Council of Churches, Health and Healing
Announcement: website

8:00-10:00 hrs, Save the Children office
Civil Society Engagement Mechanisms for UHC2030: Where are we and how to engage?
Organizer: CSEM
Announcement: not yet available

12:30-14:00 hrs, ICRC
Psoriasis in the NCD Agenda – The Road to 2018
Organizers: IFPA, Global Psoriasis Coalition
Announcement: website

12:00-14:00 hrs, Hotel InterContinental
Investing in R&D from AMR to Zika.
Laying the foundation for sustainable development
Organizers: GHTC, MMV, PATH, TB alliance
Announcement: website

18:00-19:30 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Addressing access barriers and affordability challenges for cancer drugs
Organizers: KEI, Oxfam, HAI
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available


07:00-08:45 hrs, ICRC Restaurant
How the WHO GCM/NCD adds value now and in the future
Organizer: WHO GCM/NCD
Announcement: website

12:30-14:00 hrs, Geneva Press Club
A call for action for lung health
Organizer: NCD Alliance and partners
Announcement: website

18:00-20:00 hrs, Hotel Intercontinental
Health Workers United
Organizer: WHO HIS/HWF and the Global Health Workforce Network
Co-sponsors: Intrahealth, FHWC, IPF, MMI
Announcement: not yet available

18:00-19:30 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
The Role of Next Generation in Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases
Organizers: Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, IFMSA
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available

FRIDAY 26 MAY 2017

12:00-14:00 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room 24
Scaling-up Access to Emergency & Essential Surgical, Obstetric and Anesthesia care for better health systems and sustainable development

Organizers: Delegation of Zambia, WHO Secretariat (others t.b.c.)
Announcement (WHA Journal): not yet available

18:00-19:30 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Safeguarding blood safety for the multi-transfused patients
Organizers: Thalassaemia International Federation, World Federation of Hemophilia, International Society of Blood Transfusion, IAPOT and Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available


09:00-11:30 hrs, ICRC Museum
MMI Annual General Assembly
Organizer: Medicus Mundi International – Network Health for All
Announcement: website

12:30-14:30 hrs, ICRC Museum
Health cooperation beyond aid
Organizer: MMI Network
Announcement: website

MONDAY 29 MAY 2017

18:00-19:30 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Community Health Workers as catalysts in the implementation of the recommendations by the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growths
Organizers: AMREF Health Africa and IntraHealth
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available


18:00-19:30 hrs, Palais des Nations*, Room IX
Embodying the future: How to improve the nutrition status of adolescents?
Organizers: GAIN and delegations of the Netherlands
WHO overview of official WHA side events organized by non-state actors: website
Specific announcement: not yet available

Send your announcements to:
Enquiries: please get in touch with the organizer
*For events inside the Palais des Nations, a WHA badge is required

Civil society meetings ahead of the 70th World Health Assembly (G2H2 and partners)
May 19 – May 21 all-day


Friday 19 May 2017, 10:00-17:00 hrs, Ecumenical Centre

Civil Society Brainstorming Meeting
“What is to be done to recover peoples’ sovereignty:
Nutrition, food, global health and corporate power”

After a successful start in January (“Let’s talk: Economic determination of health policies and governance”), the second civil society brainstorming meeting will explore the links between nutrition, food systems, seeds, agroecology, food sovereignty, global health, intellectual property rights, labour laws, human rights, corporate power and abuses, and global governance.

This time, however, we propose our brainstorming to extend itself into what are the possible implications of all this interconnectedness to our sectoral specific struggles and overall strategies to recover people’s sovereignty over the public space. What is to be done? What are the implications for us as citizens, local, national and international public interest CSOs, and our specific struggles and processes? Should we converge on specific processes?

Expected outcomes

  • Deeper understanding of the interlinkages among the themes discussed and each other’s approaches and positions.
  • Laying the ground for more concrete strategizing and future cooperation, by creating conditions where more cooperation and convergence across the networks can be facilitated.

Draft program

Morning session:
Corporate Capture of Food, Nutrition and Health: searching the common agenda

  • The role of social movements in the reform of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS): Struggle against land grabbing and for food sovereignty, agro-ecological principles and coherence with human rights
  • Follow-up of the International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) Civil society group and the struggle to recognize the structural links between food and nutrition in their multidimensionality
  • The interconnectedness between the food and nutrition industry and health governance

Afternoon session:
What we are doing to recover peoples’ sovereignty

  • Treaty Alliance – unifying Civil Society and human rights organizations for the treaty – holding corporate and governments accountable to their responsibilities and obligations.
  • Dismantle corporate power and the Peoples’ Treaty – linking specific struggles to the construction of an autonomous legal standard based on the processes and experiences of social movements and communities throughout the world.
  • The resistance of the social movements and popular struggles in their territories
    against corporate power abuses and crimes

Short introductions followed by discussion in small groups or in the plenary.
Announcement with further program details: not yet available
Meeting organized by G2H2 and hosted by the WCC
Kindly supported by Bread for the World, South Centre and WCC
By invitation only – Please register here.
Contact for enquiries: G2H2 secretariat

Friday 19 May 2017, 17:00 hrs, Ecumenical Centre
G2H2 Reception and buffet dinner

For participants in the brainstorming meeting and other civil society colleagues
By invitation only – Please register here.

Saturday 20 May 2017, 9:00-16:00 hrs, Ecumenical Centre

Civil Society Strategy Meeting
Session 1: Key agenda items of the World Health Assembly

Session 2: Focus on WHO governance

Ahead of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Third World Network and the Geneva Global Health Hub (and its members) are organizing a full day civil society meeting of briefings and joint strategizing on key issues of the WHA70, with half a day focusing on agenda items to be selected and introduced by the PHM WHO Watch team and all participants and with the second part of the day focusing on institutional/governance issues (WHO Financing and FENSA implementation).

Draft program

First session:
Key items on the WHO EB agenda

  • Overview presentation by the PHM WHO Watch team
  • Registered participants: Please indicate (see below) if there are items on the WHO EB agenda in which you are particularly interested and able to provide a 8 Minutes presentation

Second session:
WHO governance: Many open questions

  • Financing of WHO and structural issues
  • Implementation of the WHO Framework on Engagement with non-State actors FENSA: Assessment of Secretariat report, way forward and what is the role of CSOs

Short introductions followed by discussion iin the plenary.
Announcement with full program details: not yet available
Meeting organized by TWN and G2H2 and hosted by the WCC.
Kindly supported by Bread for the World, South Centre and WCC
By invitation only – Please register here.
Contact for enquiries: Mirza Alas

Sunday 21 May 2017, 13:00-14:30 hrs, Maison de la Paix
Geneva Global Health Hub: Annual General Meeting

For G2H2 members and all interested civil society colleagues
By invitation only – Invitation and registration: here


Photo: Civil society brainstorming meeting at the Maison des Associations, January 2017

22-31 May 2017
70th World Health Assembly and side events

WHA70 documentation: WHO website
Practical information for NSA in official relations: Download PDF
WHA70 side events: overview by G2H2

G2H2 Annual General Meeting
May 21 @ 13:00 – 14:30

“Dear colleagues,

Since the launch, almost one year ago, the Geneva Global Health Hub is steadily growing in membership and visibility, amplifying civil society voices in global health debates in Geneva. In January this year, we had two very inspiring meetings in which several of you have participated and we look forward to seeing more of you in May, around the World Health Assembly.

We herewith invite you to the first regular Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the G2H2 Association that is part of a series of civil society meetings before the 70th World Health Assembly organized or co-hosted by G2H2 (see separate “save the date” message sent to you on 29 March). At the AGM the members will be invited to adopt the financial statement and reports over the first year and the budget for the coming period. Both members and invitees are welcome to reflect on the accomplishments and future focus of the G2H2. Please register here.

The AGM will take place at the Maison de la Paix, and you can afterwards easily change over to a “Briefing for WHA delegates” organized by the Global Health Centre of the Geneva Graduate Institute taking place in the same building.

You will receive at least 10 days prior to the date of the AGM the detailed agenda and supportive documents. Their preparations still need a bit of time and investment. But feel free to get in touch with our secretariat anytime if you like to know more or have particular questions at this stage.

See you soon in Geneva!
With best regards,

Mariska Meurs, President
Thomas Schwarz, Secretariat”

Source: Invitation sent to G2H2 key contacts, via e-mail
Please register here.

70th World Health Assembly
May 22 – May 31 all-day

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It generally meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the Organization. The Health Assembly appoints the Director-General, supervises the financial policies of the Organization, and reviews and approves the proposed programme budget. It similarly considers reports of the Executive Board, which it instructs in regard to matters upon which further action, study, investigation, or report may be required.

The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA70) will take place at the Palais des Nations from 22 to 31 May 2017, followed by the 141st session of the WHO Executive Board. First WHA70 documents are now available.

WHA70 documentation: WHO website
WHA70 side events: overview
Practical information for NSA in official relations: Download PDF


World No Tobacco Day 2017: “Tobacco – a threat to development”
May 31 all-day

“Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 is “Tobacco – a threat to development.”

About the campaign

  • It will demonstrate the threats that the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including the health and economic well-being of their citizens.
  • It will propose measures that governments and the public should take to promote health and development by confronting the global tobacco crisis.

Tobacco control supports health and development

WHO is calling on countries to prioritize and accelerate tobacco control efforts as part of their responses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

All countries benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies. The aim of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its 17 global goals, is to ensure that “no one is left behind.”

Tobacco control has been enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda. It is seen as one of the most effective means to help achieve SDG target 3.4 of a one-third reduction globally, by 2030, of premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease. Strengthening implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco in all countries is an additional target to be met by governments developing national sustainable development responses.

Controlling tobacco helps achieve other global goals

In addition to saving lives and reducing health inequalities, comprehensive tobacco control contains the adverse environmental impact of tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption.

Tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth, and combat climate change. Increasing taxes on tobacco products can also be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

It is not only governments who can step up tobacco control efforts: people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world. People can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can quit the habit, or seek help in doing so, which will in turn protect their health as well as people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members and friends. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food, healthcare and education.

Facts about tobacco, tobacco control and the development goals

  • About 6 million people die from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action. Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.
  • Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care. Some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.
  • Tobacco growing requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. Each year, tobacco growing uses 4.3 million hectares of land, resulting in global deforestation between 2% and 4%. Tobacco manufacturing also produces over 2 million tonnes of solid waste.
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guides the global fight against the tobacco epidemic. The WHO FCTC is an international treaty with 180 Parties (179 countries and the European Union). Today, more than half the world’s countries, representing nearly 40% of the world’s population (2.8 billion people), have implemented at least one of the WHO FCTC’s most cost-effective measures to the highest level. An increasing number of countries are creating firewalls to ward off interference from the tobacco industry in government tobacco control policy.
  • Through increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by US$1, an extra US$190 billion could be raised for development. High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to finance development activities.

Goals of the World No Tobacco Day 2017 campaign

World No Tobacco Day 2017 aims to:

  • Highlight the links between the use of tobacco products, tobacco control and sustainable development.
  • Encourage countries to include tobacco control in their national responses to 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
  • Support Member States and civil society to combat tobacco industry interference in political processes, in turn leading to stronger national tobacco control action.
  • Encourage broader public and partner participation in national, regional and global efforts to develop and implement development strategies and plans and achieve goals that prioritize action on tobacco control.
  • Demonstrate how individuals can contribute to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world, either by committing to never taking up tobacco products, or by quitting the habit.”

Source: WHO
Geneva events: Not yet known

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

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WHO)
Nov 13 – Nov 19 all-day

“Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious threat to global health and human development. It is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and putting people everywhere at risk.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of this important issue and to encourage best practices among the public, health workers, farmers, food producers, veterinarians and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

This year, World Antibiotic Awareness Week will be held from 13 to 19 November.

WHO is encouraging all Member States, health partners and students, and the public to join this campaign and help raise awareness of antibiotic resistance.

It is not too late to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance and we all have a part to play in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are a precious resource—we need to handle them with care.”

Geneva WAAW events: not yet known
Source: WHO

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