WHO Watch: activities during WHA66 and EB133 - May 2013 Geneva

26 Apr 2013

The forthcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), taking place from 20-28 May 2013 in Geneva, will be monitored, advocated to and reported upon  by PHM health activists under the ‘Democratising Global Health Governance Initiative: WHO Watch’.

WHO Watch is a resource for advocacy and mobilisation and an intervention in global health governance. More about WHO Watch and the Democratising GHG Initiative.

As a resource for advocacy and mobilisation WHO Watch provides a current account of global policy dynamics in relation to a wide and growing range of health issues. While the focus is on issues being considered through the WHO the background documentation provides a more broadly based account of these issues.

We aim to strengthen various streams in the Health for All movement (IP and access, trade and health, health systems, PHC, quality use of medicines, etc etc) by ensuring that activists whose concerns arise from their grass roots involvements can learn about the global dimensions of the problems they are facing and reshape their advocacy and mobilising accordingly.

WHO Watch is also an intervention in global health governance.

Partly this is about defending WHO which has been subject to very bad stresses for several decades. WHO is the paramount health authority at the global level and needs to be strengthened and reformed and properly funded to play this role. WHO Watch seeks to generate support for a reformed WHO restored to its proper place in global health governance.  

Finally, WHO Watch aims to support wider knowledge of, and participation in, the various engagements across the broader field of GHG.  We are aiming to change the balance of power framing global decisions which impact on health.


From 15-31st of May PHM activists will gathering in Geneva to ‘watch’ WHO (actually monitor, engage with and and report upon). The activities start with an orientation and planning workshop where the ‘watchers’ work through the WHA agenda and develop a PHM position on critical issues.

The workshop is designed to introduce WHO to the volunteer watchers and to develop PHM positions. The watchers share the agenda items and present at the workshop: a) a summary of the documents circulated by the WHO Secretariat; b) an analysis of the politics of this issue at this time; and c) a brief on what PHM's position should be. 

Position documents are developed and uploaded to the ghwatch.org/who-watch website. We already have a dedicated WHA66 page uploaded and we upload further material as it emerges. 

This pre-analysis helps us to follow the discussions at the meeting and also provides material that is picked up by other NGOs and member countries.

As the agenda item unfolds at the meeting, the watchers provide a semi verbatim report of the discussion on a skype channel (which is picked up by a much larger group from other NGOs).

In the evening, we summarise and comment on the day's proceedings and upload our comments onto the website.

We choose some issues on which we make statements (about 2-4) at the meeting. The statements are collectively developed, with 1 or 2 people taking the lead in preparing it.

CLICK HERE for the PHM report for the most recent WHO watch activity: EB132

If you wish to know more about the WHO watch, feel free to contact the global secretariat of the PHM on [email protected]

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