Statements by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

Permanent Mission of India

Geneva

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Statements by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair for convening this meeting.

2. The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the supreme, largest and most democratic governing body of the WHO and this should not be undermined and the roles assigned to the other subsidiary bodies should not conflict with its overarching role as envisaged in the WHO constitution. It’s full and universal membership should have all authority and flexibility to set the agenda of the WHA.

3. In our understanding, a combined reading of current rules 3, 4, 5, 11 and 12 of procedure of the WHA along with the constitution serves the process of agenda setting well

4. We do not support giving discretion to the Executive Board or the Secretariat in this regard while submission of the explanatory memorandum would be practical and reasonable and not unwelcome. Needless to add that timely advance circulation of meeting background documents would allow sufficient time for its consideration.

5. In terms of process, we would like to know how the outcomes of these informal consultations would result in a final decision on the Governance reforms matter.

6. One general observation which we would like to share is that it is surprising that consultations intended for all member states are not attended by all and that even this small room remains largely empty.What effort is the Secretariat making or could make to ensure adequate participation of Member states from all regions, especially those who do not have a permanent and dedicated presence in Geneva, for reasons well known and understood, in such important meetings to bring their voice on to the discussion table and balance the discourse?

7. Lastly, we reserve our final views on this issue and other issue till its full consideration while generally supporting the idea of streamlining processes for bringing in greater efficiency and effectiveness as part of WHO governance reforms.

      Thank you.

12 September 2018

Statement by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item B of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair. 

2. As stated earlier, while we reserve our final views till full consideration of all the proposals before us including this one, our preference would be for a leaving the current rules unchanged as this permits and does not preclude early submission of drafts by member states who wish to avail the necessary support of the secretariat and/or hold any informal consultations.

3. The decision on the usefulness and relevance of such advance submission is an issue to be decided upon by the Member State concerned for the effective consideration of the drafts by the executive board or assembly.

4. The suggestion to submit draft early could remain an advisory or recommendation, at best and should not become a requirement.

     Thank you.

12 September 2018

Statement by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item C of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair.

2. On this issue, we would like to recall Article 71 of the WHO constitution and part 6.1 of the earlier principles governing the relations with NGOs.

3. In this spirit, while reserving our final views, we wish to state that:

  • Primacy of Member States in WHO and their lead role in setting and driving the agenda must be maintained and strengthened vis-à-vis non-state actors.
  • Further, for giving effect to the proposal, an amendment to the WHO constitution may be necessary and need to be considered.
  • We may also need to align the language of the proposal to the earlier principles governing relations with NGOs including qualified and specific invitations that were practiced and governed the relations with NGOs.

4. We agree with the view that we are still in the early days of understanding and implementing the Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA). The review of FENSA’s implementation is upcoming. It may be pre-mature to make changes.

5. Needless to add that we do not oppose the need to remove the reference in the rules of procedure to a document that no longer exists in view of a governing body decision.

6. In this backdrop, our preference would be to proceed with this issue slowly, in the right order and after due and adequate consideration by all the Member States of its full implication.

     Thank you.

12 September 2018

Statement by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item D of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair.

2. We broadly support the idea of submitting written statements by Member States where an oral statement could not be delivered in entirety or in part or even otherwise. It would help ensure greater inclusivity and diversity of views and even reinforce adherence to agreed time limits. There could, however, be broad guidelines in this regard.

3. As regards, the right of reply, this is a very reasonable concern and could be reconciled either by firstly, excluding portions that invite a right of reply from the submitted written statements, if possible and when insisted upon for retention by a Member State against advice in the exercise of its right to expression, such references should compulsorily and promptly be intimated to the Member State or States concerned, by the Secretariat, providing it a right of reply. If the right of reply is exercised by a Member State concerned, such right of reply should always accompany the written statement if and when uploading it on the web portal.

4. Further, we request the Secretariat to share the feasible shelf life of such uploaded written statements, if it is agreed upon as a possible course, the nature of its visibility on the web portal and possibility of becoming part of the official records, taking into account the availability of resources and existing workload inter alia.

5. To conclude, we are flexible on this procedural question.

      Thank you.

12 September 2018

Statement by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item E of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair.

2. We wish to reiterate our views expressed with regard to the related Item C that is the primacy of Member States in WHO who constitute it must be maintained and strengthened.

3. We could not disagree that the involvement of non-state actors in the governing bodies should be meaningful and additionally state that it should also be balanced in terms of representation of regional and topical interests, without any conflict of interest, and based on specific and qualified invitations on a case by case basis. It should also be possible to limit the amount and nature of participation due to limitation of space and time among others.

4. The WHO could consider exploring other less formalised and more flexible means of engagement of the the governing bodies with the non-state actors to consult them and seek their cooperation, if, when and as necessary, for the global health agenda, as also intended in FENSA.

5. Further, w.r.t. this part and the related Item C discussed earlier, we wish to state that it would be a much easier and simpler proposition to amend or revise the FENSA, to address the issue of their participation and unforeseen technical inconsistencies w.r.t. usage of terms, following its formal review by the executive board in 2020, in comparison to any other option. It may be worth adding that a WHA resolution is normally required and expected to be in accordance with constitution and related rules of procedure and not the other way around.

      Thank you.

12 September 2018

Statement by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item F of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair.

2. On this issue, we broadly support the idea of a member state led process of regular and periodic review of all resolutions and decisions of the WHO governing bodies in terms of fulfilment of the provided mandates, reporting requirements, life span, replacement or super-cession by a later resolution or decision inter alia. Such a process should however be informed by an objective technical criterion, a monitor-able timeframe, clear methodology and be rigorous in nature.

3. To begin work, a secretariat inter-departmental technical committee with clearly defined objectives and methodology could be set up to undertake, in a time bound manner, a detailed and reasoned analysis of all past resolutions and decisions of the WHO governing bodies. The aim of this exercise should be to propose options for sun setting of resolutions and decisions that have already been implemented or acted upon, or that have outlived their utility and relevance or their streamlining in terms of reporting requirements.

4. While proposing options, the broad categorisation of ‘sunset, conditional sunset and active’ could be used. The taxonomy of outcomes of the 13th General Programme of Work 2019-23 could provide the overarching framework.

5. In terms of timeframe, a 15 year period for initial review may be reasonable.

6. Resolutions dating prior to this period could generally be considered for sunset unless specific periodic reporting requirements are entailed and continue to remain therewith. In case any such resolution pertains to an issue of importance and/or of continued relevance and/or to an actionable agenda, the technical unit concerned may propose a fresh resolution or decision to incorporate the latest technological or programmatic developments on the subject of the resolution before sun setting it.

7. An effective mechanism to periodically review the existing ‘Conditional sunset’ and ‘Active’ and the new resolutions and decisions at appropriate intervals and frequencies in a cost-effective manner, and to place recommendations of the review for consideration of the Governing bodies should be suggested by the technical committee.

8. The technical report should also recommend guidelines as regards the format of all future resolutions and decisions to avoid problems related to overlapping mandates, multiple reporting requirements and unclear timeframes among others.

9. Needless to add that the technical committee could fully benefit from the work and experience at the regional level.

10.The report of the technical committee could serve as a basis for informal consultations with Member States. The technical report along with the outcome of the consultations could thereafter be submitted for final formal consideration and decision by the Governing bodies.

      Thank you.

13 September 2018

Follow-up statment by India at the WHO Member State first informal consultations on Item F of the Governance reform proposals – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

    Thank you Madam Chair.

2. Our preference would be for a comprehensive exercise of stocktaking, review and mapping of all resolutions and decisions which includes and is not limited to those with unspecified or multiple reporting requirements. Further, the exercise should aim not only at sun setting of resolutions and decisions but also streamlining the process of reporting in terms of fulfilment of mandate and its implementation among others.

3. As regards, the membership of the inter-governemntal working group and the composition of the secretariat technical committee, if agreed upon and recommended to be constituted, should be balanced and representative and their mandates clear and specific. Both, the composition and the mandate in addition to its working methodology, needless to add, should be provided and decided by the WHO Governing Body. A decision on this issue cannot be made in an informal setting aimed at consultations.

      Thank you.

13 September 2018

 
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