This joint technical symposium is the seventh in a series of joint technical symposia convened by the WHO, WIPO and the WTO. It builds on the collaborative work undertaken by the three agencies to enhance capacity, including the trilateral study on ‘Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation’.

The purpose of this symposium is to provide a forum for an evidence-based exchange of views and experiences of various stakeholders and representatives of relevant sectors. Innovative, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships that research, develop and facilitate access to novel, needs-based health technologies will be highlighted. The exchange will provide the basis for discussion and allow participants to achieve a better understanding of the benefits, drawbacks, and impact of the various available options.

SDGs and health technologies

The United Nations' post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out an ambitious plan for action: to reach and empower the most vulnerable and take action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. The Sustainable Development Goals usher in a new era of global development that seeks to leave no one behind.

Access to, and innovation in, health technologies is a requisite element for ensuring progress toward universal health coverage and achievement of the SDGs, namely SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Scientific progress, advances in health technologies and improved trade have contributed to unprecedented improvements in health outcomes. However, gains in life expectancy and quality of life are unequally distributed between low-, middle-, and high-income countries.

Troubling inequalities in the burden of disease are, in part, attributed to the disparate access to health technologies. As a fundamental human right, the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health obliges governments to ensure appropriate access to essential medicines.

Agenda and key issues

Directors-General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesu (WHO), Francis Gurry (WIPO) and Roberto Azevêdo (WTO) will open the symposium, followed by three panel discussions. The first panel will focus on global health data, disease burden and the challenges ahead. A second panel will address technology as a driver of medical progress and access. The third panel will examine how policy choices impact on access to innovative technologies.

The event is open to Geneva-based delegations to the WHO, WIPO and the WTO, representatives of international and philanthropic organizations, experts on intellectual property and trade, civil society organizations and interested individuals and organizations. Registration is open until 18 February.

Date: 26 February 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Venue: Executive Board Room, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

Further information regarding the symposium and online registration is available at: TrilateralSymposium.




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