15-18 May 2023, via Zoom

Series of G2H2 policy debates ahead of WHA76

In the year of the 75th anniversary of WHO:
What is to be done when the party is over

In the year of the 75th Anniversary of the World Health Organization, and in the week before the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA76), a series of meetings hosted by the Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2) and organized by some of its members will again provide a space for sharing, assessing and debating health policy and governance challenges that go beyond the items covered by the formal agenda of the WHA, bridging from health policies to people’s realities, addressing determinants of health and promoting democratic governance.


Programme overview

Monday to Thursday (Zoom webinars)
Series of G2H2 hosted policy debates

Monday, 15 May 2023, 15.00-16.30 CEST
Alignment and coordination in the health sector
– how is the global community progressing?
Policy debate organized by Wemos
Language: English

Tuesday, 16 May 2023, 13.00-14.30 CEST
Advancing Social Participation for Universal Health Coverage
– Translating the principle into practice

Briefing and policy debate organized by Save the Children, CSEM and WHO
Language: English

Tuesday, 16 May 2023, 15.00-16.30 CEST
Not an option! Migrants’ journey across the Mediterranean
Film screening and discussion organized by Saluteglobale.it
Language: English

Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 13.00-14.30 CEST
We want civil society participation in the governance of the Pandemic Accord
Policy debate organized by Save the Children and STOPAIDS
Language: English

Thursday, 18 May 2023, 14.30-16.00 CEST
Banking on health: The surging pandemic of health financialization
Policy debate organized by Society for International Development SID
Languages: English, French, Spanish

Thursday, 18 May 2023, 16.00-17.30 CEST
Private foundations and the WHO Pandemic Treaty:
negotiations gated in philanthrocapitalism?

Policy debate organized by Corporate Accountability and partners
Languages: English, French, Spanish

  • Session details and documentations: below


Monday 15 May 2023, 15.00-16.30 CEST
Alignment and coordination in the health sector
– how is the global community progressing?

The COVID-19 pandemic has once more brought the need for strengthening health systems and close international cooperation to the forefront. Effective coordination between the various global health initiatives and their alignment with national plans and priorities increase their impact on global health. The story of coordination among global health initiatives and, more importantly, their alignment with country policies is not new. It goes a long way back. Global health initiatives have made many commitments to coordination and alignment, from the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action to the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (GAP), to name a few.

In this public policy debate, we would like to engage in a discussion about the progress on alignment at country level and reflect on the lessons learnt from current efforts for better alignment. What is different now about the context, the actors, and the policies to boost the alignment efforts and enable success? What do countries need from global health actors? Which are some examples of the consequences of misalignment at country and global level? We will also share findings from recent research on country-level alignment of global health initiatives.  

  • Welcome
    Myria Koutsoumpa, Wemos
  • WHO’s analysis: country recommendations for better alignment
    Isadora Quick, GAP Secretariat, WHO
  • Country-level alignment of the GFF, Gavi and Global Fund – country cases
    Dr Stellah Bosire, consultant
  • The GFF Alignment Framework: process and implementation in pilot countries
    Lawrence Mumbe, World Bank 
  • The Future of Global Health Initiatives: added value?
    Linda Muller, FGHI Secretariat
  • Plenary discussion among participants on key recommendations
    Myria Koutsoumpa, Wemos
Session documentation
Key references
  • Analyzing data collected from national governments and relevant authorities through the questionnaire of the SDG3 GAP monitoring framework. (WHO, 2023)
  • Strengthening Health Systems Strengthening: Analysis of coordination among the Global Fund, the Global Financing Facility and Gavi (the 3Gs) – Policy Brief. (Wemos & Cordaid, 2021)
More about this session
  • Policy debate organized by: Wemos
  • Language: English 
  • Contact for enquiries: Myria Koutsoumpa myria.koutsoumpa@wemos.nl   

Tuesday 16 May 2023, 13.00-14.30 CEST
Advancing Social Participation for Universal Health Coverage
– Translating the principle into practice

The principle of social participation for Primary Health Care, Universal Health Coverage and Health System Resilience has been endorsed in international agreements. Moreover, as the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated, participatory health governance is crucial as part of a whole-of-society response, and to build and sustain trust between the population and the health system. However, translation of the principle of social participation into practice has been limited, with participation often ad hoc and and/or tokenistic. All countries can do more to improve how people, communities and civil society organizations participate in health system decision-making processes.

In May 2021, following an extensive consultation the World Health Organization launched “Voice, agency, empowerment – handbook on social participation for universal health coverage” to support Member States with guidance. The Handbook was developed in collaboration with civil society and other actors through the Social Participation Network. In support of this agenda, various Member States are now pursuing a future WHA resolution to secure political will and move countries to take action towards institutionalizing social participation in health system governance. The UN High Level Meetings on UHC and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response in September 2023 will also present important opportunities to position social participation as a priority health system reform agenda. To ensure that the WHA resolution will take into the views of a wide range of actors, the WHO Secretariat has drafted a technical background paper – synthesizing key recommendations from the Handbook – as the basis for consultations with Member States, civil society, youth and parliamentarians and possibly others, to identify priorities for moving towards institutionalizing social participation in countries. An online survey will also be launched to solicit feedback from any interested respondents.

The main objectives of the session are to facilitate discussion and sharing among civil society about priorities for advancing social participation in countries. Participants will be invited to share their learnings and challenges and express views on what Member States should commit to through a WHA resolution on moving towards institutionalising social participation in countries. The session will also be an opportunity to solicit feedback on the technical background paper.

  • Welcome
    Margot Nauleau, Save the Children, CSEM Advisory Group
  • Global process towards a WHA resolution on social participation
    Andrej Vujkovac, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia 
  • Presentation on the technical background paper
    Lara Brearley, Consultant, WHO
  • From principles to action – plenary discussion among participants on key recommendations
    Justin Koonin, Co-chair UHC2030 
  • Next steps & closing comments
    Justin Koonin, Co-chair UHC2030 
Key references and follow-up
  • Voice, agency, empowerment: Handbook on social participation for universal health coverage.
    World Health Organization, 2021
  • NEW: WHO Technical Background Paper on social participation
    World Health Organiation 2023
  • NOW: WHO survey related to the 2023 Technical Background Paper
    “This Technical Background Paper will be finalised based on feedback and published later this year.
    In preparation of this final document, we kindly invite and ecourage you to fill in the survey.
    We welcome responses in any language. The deadline for responses is 25 June 2023.”
Session recording
  • Zoom recording available here
More about this session
  • Policy debate organized by: Save the Children jointly with CSEM and the WHO Secretariat 
  • Language: English 
  • Contact for enquiries:  Margot Nauleau margot.nauleau@savethechildren.org 

Tuesday 16 May 2023, 15.00-16.30 CEST
Not an option! Migrants’ journey across the Mediterranean
Film screening and discussion

In 2022, over 2000 people lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, remarking a “widespread, longstanding and largely overlooked tragedy” (UNHCR).  Many of these individuals hail from regions in the East and Horn of Africa that have been ravaged by conflict and displacement, leaving them with no other option but to search for a better future elsewhere. However, some European countries have been strengthening national borders and detention facilities outside their borders, pushing migrants into smugglers’ hands. This has resulted in a catastrophic loss of life, as demonstrated by the recent tragedy on the coast of Southern Italy, where more than 80 people, including 33 minors, perished in a capsized boat.

Migration remains a complex phenomenon that is constantly changing due to various factors, including geographies, drivers, and societal changes. While traditional migration categories continue to exist, new typologies have emerged that present unique internal dynamics. However, developing policy debate on migration that accurately capture the various intersections of identity, economics, globalisation, and gender remains a significant challenge. Furthermore, existing migration theories may not capture contemporary migration patterns and dynamics, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive, accurate, and timely debate on migration. Efforts need to be catalysed towards the creation of more structured and synergetic transdisciplinary networks.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that we commit ourselves to the principle of “Leaving no one behind.” The only way forward is to work collaboratively towards a world where everyone has the opportunity to live a dignified life, regardless of their country of origin.

The film “Lifeboat” nominated for an Academy Award, represents a highly relevant cinematographic work for contemporary society, attesting one of the world’s greatest contemporary crises, the desperation of refugees who are forced to risk their lives to flee wars and oppressions, undertaking dangerous nighttime journeys on rubber boats from Libyan territory to Europe. The film offers a view of the current global refugee crisis, putting the people involved at the centre of the stage and seeking to provide a glimmer of hope on how civil society can intervene in a meaningful and concrete way to address this humanitarian tragedy. Its vision represents an invitation to reflection on issues related to human rights protection and the necessary policies to address the current situation. In the session, the screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion on “Migration across the Mediterranean route: a global health perspective” 

Panel discussion
  • Valentina Marchese, BNITM, Italian Society of Migration Medicine
  • Chiara Montaldo, MSF
  • Natalia Skogberg, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
    Panel discussion moderated by Silvia Barigazzi, Saluteglobale.it
Session recording
  • Zoom video here (without the documentary)
Key references
  • Lifeboat (film)
  • Mediterranean Sea journeys for migrants have grown more deadly: UNHCR. Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/06/1120132
  • Solano, Giacomo & Ahmad Yar, Ahmad Wali & Bircan, Tuba.  Gaps in Migration Research. Review of migration theories and the quality and compatibility of migration data on the national and international level. 2020
  • James R, Blanchet K, Orcutt M, Kumar B. Migration health research in the European region: Sustainable synergies to bridge the research, policy and practice gap. Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2021 May 15;5:100124. doi: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100124. PMID: 34557825; PMCID: PMC8454651.
  • World Health Organization. Report on the health of refugees and migrants in the WHO European region: no public health without refugees and migrant health. Geneva. 2018
More about this session
  • Session organized by: Saluteglobale.it 
  • Language: English 
  • Contact for enquiries: Silvia Barigazzi silviabarigazzi@gmail.com

Wednesday 17 May 2023, 13.00-14.30 CEST
We want civil society participation
in the governance of the Pandemic Accord

In December 2021, the World Health Assembly established an intergovernmental negotiating body (the “INB”) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (so called “Pandemic Accord” or “Pandemic Treaty”). The process to develop this new international instrument commenced in February 2022 and will be ongoing until May 2024. 

The INB invites some segments of civil society and communities to contribute to the drafting process, mainly through attendance in public meetings and hearings. However, participation remains limited to date, even shrinking, and engagement modalities are not made sufficiently transparent and accessible. Civil Society Organizations therefore call for the establishment of  robust mechanisms to ensure effective civil society and community participation in the implementation and monitoring of the Accord. 

In May 2023 Save the Children and STOPAIDS will publish a research paper and policy brief on civil society participation in the governance of the Pandemic Accord (drafting, decision-making, implementation & monitoring). These papers will be discussed during this session with the aim of:

  • Sharing examples and good practices of civil society engagement in the governance of international treaties/conventions across the UN system and in particular the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • Discussing the potential impact of the Framework for Engagement with Non State Actors on civil society participation in the governance of the Accord
  • Sharing recommendations for civil society and community participation in the governance of Pandemic Accord to inform negotiations 
  • Welcome
    Courtenay Howe, STOPAIDS
  • Presentation of the policy brief and research paper
    Margot Nauleau, Save the Children
  • Civil society participation in the FCTC
    Patricia Lambert, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
  • Civil society participation in environmental treaties
    Yves Lador, Earthjustice
  • EU Member States’ proposal on institutional arrangements
    Americo B. Zampetti, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Geneva
  • Civil society perspectives on the pandemic accord at regional level
    Fitsum Alemayehu, WACI Health
  • Discussion (panel and participants)
    Moderated by Courtenay Howe, STOPAIDS
Session documetation
More about this session

Thursday 18 May 2023, 14.30-16.00 CEST
Banking on health: The surging pandemic of health financialization

As a stage in the development of capitalism underpinned by extreme financialization, neoliberalism generates increased inequality and systemic volatility, as well as the subversion of the international democratic order as we have known it since the creation of the United Nations.

There are several vectors that exacerbate the effects of contemporary capitalism. However, one of the structural challenges that civil society organizations and social movements have to recognize and address relates to the expansion of vertically integrated global value chains that owners of intangible commodities – such as financial products and intellectual property rights – control. These have determined economic concentration and oligopoly power dominating the top of the value chain, including in the global health arena, whereas fierce competition for low-wage labour and precarious forms of social protection characterizes the bottom. In this scenario of global injustice and social polarization, the use of advanced technology – both information technology and biotech – looms for its capacity of enhanced control of peoples’ bodies and lives.

Health rights are situated at the crossroad of such trends, and more prominently so, after three years of pandemic crisis. Covid-19 has somewhat naturalized inequalities while ushering the opportunity for new forms of extractivism from the sick, further facilitating the brave new world of private finance in the healthcare domain, whose presence has been largely blessed by multilateral development institutions through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have often helped financial investors to re-imagine health needs as an adaptable marketplace for them to come on board and engage – we see this happening while healthcare systems are globally collapsing after the shock produced by the pandemic.

This session, while presenting the new SiD policy briefing on health financialization, aims to pull together the strings of interconnection that exist across the agenda of health financialization, health financing and health privatization, as the international community  is debating about the scenarios that are supposed to take stock of the Covid-19 lessons and prepare the world for the future health emergencies.

Panel discussion
  • Nicoletta Dentico, Society for International Development (SID)
  • Maria José Romero, Eurodad
  • Marco Angelo, Wemos
  • Attiya Waris, the UN Independent Rapporteur on foreign debt and human rights
  • Antoine de Bengy Puyvallée, International Relations & Global Health Governance, University of Oslo
    Panel moderated by Priti Patnaik, Geneva Health Files
Session recording
  • Here (Zoom recording)
Key references
More about this session
  • Policy debate organized by: Society for International Development  (SID)
  • Languages: English, Spanish, French
  • Contact for enquiries: Nicoletta Dentico ndentico@sidint.org

Thursday 18 May 2023, 16.00-17.00 CEST
Private foundations and the WHO Pandemic Treaty: negotiations gated in philanthrocapitalism?

It is difficult to estimate the influence of the often unaccountable private foundations (among others Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) in terms of their capacity to impact the strategic policy orientations in the global development agenda, and particularly in health, environment, agriculture, among other key areas related to human and nature rights, with hardly any oversight.

The panel interventions followed by Q & A from the audience, intends to provide a policy dialogue opportunity with an array of experts and civil society actors, to reflect about the role that private foundations or philanthrocapitalism have played during COVID-19 and are currently playing in the WHO pandemic treaty negotiations. This discussion alludes of course to the urgent need for adoption of strong safeguard measures aimed at ensuring the Member State-driven nature of this delicate diplomatic process, while granting its protection from the undue influence of the private sector, in all its variants.

Programme with speakers and tentative topics
  • Karolin Seitz, Global Policy Forum
    Daniel Dorado, Corporate Accountability
  • Tim Schwab, investigative journalist and author of “The Bill Gates Problem”
    The Gates Foundation’s influence over the news media and public policy
  • Lennart Pfahler, WELT journalist
    The role that Gates Foundation has played on the global management of the pandemic
  • Americo B. Zampetti, Minister Counsellor – Global Health and SPS issues, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations
    A new agreement on Pandemic PPR: what role for stakeholders?
  • Blanca Llorente, Fundación Anáas Colombia
    The role of private foundations and their attempt to undermine the WHO FCTC. The case of the Smoke Free World Foundation
  • Nicoletta Dentico, Society for International Development (SID)
    Philanthrocapitalism and the WHO Pandemic Treaty negotiations.

Inputs followed by questions/answers.
Session co-moderated by Karolin Seitz and Daniel Dorado

Session documentation
Key references
More about this session
  • Policy debate organized by: Corporate Accountability together with Society for International Development (SID), Global Policy Forum (GPF), International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), Public Services International (PSI), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Europe and Saluteglobale.it 
  • Languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
    Interpretation kindly sponsored by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
  • Contact for enquiries: Daniel Dorado ddorado@corporateaccountability.org 

Saturday 20 May 2023 (Geneva/Zoom)
G2H2 panel discussion and workshop

The quest for Health for All in the year 2023
Assessments of the state of the World Health Organization
Website and registration links: here

The use of the “Lady Health” banner for the G2H2 events related to the WHO Jubilee was kindly agreed by the WHO Secretariat. The dark clouds in the background are added by G2H2.

Contact for enquiries:
Thomas Schwarz, G2H2 secretariat