Summary of the PHM Coordinating Commission and Secretariat handover meeting in Cape Town, 25 July – 2 August
The new Secretariat is hosted in 3 sites, Cape Town (overall coordination & financial management, Movement-building; Right to Health Campaign (RTHC); People's Health Assembly 3 (PHA3)) Cairo (International People's Health Umiversity (IPHU); Fundraising; WHO liaison; communication & Information) and Delhi (Global Health Watch 3 (GHW3); World Social Forum (WSF); resource development);
The work of PHM shall be guided by priorities set by the Steering Council (SC) in the Global Strategic Plan. A funding strategy to be developed and a fund raising advisory group to be formed. Fundraising to be co-ordinated through secretariat.
We discussed internal and external communication channels, tools and contents: SC should be sent condensed minutes of Coordinating Commission (CoCo) meetings; secretariat activity; newsletters; detailed quarterly report. Contact persons (Country Circles, networks, focal Point People, charter endorsers and IPHU alumni) should be sent a quarterly activity report and other relevant information.
Contact persons, country circle and global network contacts to take responsibility for forwarding global communications to appropriate lists in their networks.
Some issues call for wider consultation: e.g. planning for GHW; development of IPHU; development of the RTH campaign; PHM positions on current issues; strategic directions of PHM. A PHM Blog might be the most viable alternative to promote active conversation. ‘Tag’ items in Quarterly Report so that responses can go to the person associated. Schedule for discussion at next SC meeting.
E-mails and e-mail groups / lists: Will develop a set of email lists including: country circle contacts; key contacts where PHM is not established or linked to a project/network; IPHU alumni & faculty.
Newsbrief (NB): is an important vehicle for communication with PHM’s wider constituency. However, we need to explore form (hard copy or pdf) and dissemination. Hard copies of Newsbriefs are useful for handing out at meetings, conferences, etc. A special announcement should go on PHM-Exchange when each NB is posted. Explore options for distribution: e.g. posting; country circles printing and distributing to constituencies with limited internet, etc. Need to evaluate NB and identify how it could be used better.
PHM-Exchange: PHM-exch is a vital element of PHM’s communication and we should explore how to improve its usefulness including: greater linkage with the website (teaser plus URL link); digests; occasional digest in English of material from the Latin American and Arabic lists; investing in a digest in Spanish and Arabic of material appearing on PHM Exchange; sharing moderation of the list; publicise other list serves rather than forwarding. Proposed that we do an evaluation of PHM Exch. Explore creating a RTH Campaign blog for foods for thought get posted and discussed;
PHM Blog: Proposed that we set up PHM blogs, to allow for more comment than is appropriate for PHM Exch. These could be organised by topic; or individuals could start their own personal blogs around PHM type issues. Seek further comment and suggestions, particularly from blogologists.
Website: is the repository and access pathway for PHM documents and positions. However we need to use it better and routinely post PHM thinking and responses. We aim to get a smooth interplay between English, Spanish, French and Arabic. GHW web will be managed by PHM. Website needs to reflect current issues; Explore greater contribution of country circles and IPHU alumni; Evaluate the usefulness of the existing website and directions for future development.
The Global Secretariat to prepare a discussion paper on a strategic approach to communication.
Monitoring PHM contacts: The Secretariat has a role in monitoring & supporting constituent networks and countries, in particular supporting the country circle building function. The secretariat to collect and develop a database which can record, store and retrieve information on networks, organisations and individuals in each country (Charter endorsers, IPHU alumni, RTH Campaign, etc)
While PHM has contacts in many countries, not all of these have robust functioning PHM structures. Cape Town will take the lead in movement building with a particular focus on Africa. This will include: identifying & keeping in touch with contacts; organising public meetings and speaking tours; running IPHU and RTHC activities. Movement-building depends heavily on SC, CoCo members and on PHM activists and friends around the globe – it needs to be part of all PHM activities. Further discussion needed to build closer cooperation between all in supporting country circle development.
Plans for the next 3 years include: 15 short courses (18 – 24 weeks of teaching); follow up and support of the alumni projects; closer links with country circles; fellowship program; internships program; library development (in association with GHW). We need to improve selection processes and make it clear that we are expecting something from the participants after the course; improve follow up of IPHU alumni and projects; developing country circles; and library development The tasks for the local partners should be clear and outlined in a one page paper.
Right to Health Campaign
The RTH&HC Campaign is a broad platform which includes both the Right to Health Care and social determinants of health. Progress has been achieved in country circle development although links between RTHC and other strategies for country circle development need to be improved. We need to build on & link with other initiatives, like the recent Stony Point Declaration. There should be an evaluation of the RTHC: promoting rights and movement building; should consider the narrow versus broad application of the RTH principle and whether we should regard the RTH as an over-arching strategic framework or one strategic initiative among several; look at funding priorities for RTH and assess value of small grants.
Need to ensure that WHO advocacy is effective through: planning & clear lobbying objectives; starting our campaign early; developing evidence based position papers; monitoring implementation of resolutions (e.g. PHC & SDH); collaborate with country circles, other civil society groups (TWN, the South Centre, Oxfam, etc) and PHM contacts in Geneva; maintain communication with key persons in HQ and regional offices; representation of major language groups; explore an annual meeting with DG. Need to evaluate our work with WHO. Secretariat to circulate a draft plan for 2009/2010.
Key principles for planning for GHW3 will be: keep the same basic structure; do not repeat, cover current issue of concern, depend to some extent on volunteer willingness. We will distinguish between updates on material previously covered substantively and new material. The deliverables for GHW will include: the final GHW document; chapter translations, synopses advocacy resources and primers. We will undertake some piloting for primers and explore developing podcasts to reach out to those who primarily have radio access. We brainstormed possible chapters and authors. It was agreed that the Delhi Secretariat office helps to develop position papers for PHM, building on the links to various experts necessary for the pulling together of GHW.
Thematic Circles are one of PHM’s key strategies for action and involvement. In addition to the WHO Circle, we had a circle on Trade and Health, Research, Economics and PHC among others. Many issues warrant a more focused approach (economic crisis, climate crisis, mining, water, etc). These can be term limited and should not duplicate work of other networks, but could assist in building links with more specialised networks. The planning and implementing of thematic circle projects should be largely activist driven and not depend on staff. The Delhi Office may support some thematic circles through the development of policy papers and background papers. The IPHU Library may involve ‘topic coordinators’ working with volunteers. Schedule time for a more extended discussion of these issues.
Constitution of Steering Council
It has been suggested that the SC might move to more formal representation. Proposed that it be constituted by four sets of representatives: (i) country circles; (ii) networks; (iii) major projects (IPHU, GHW, RTH, etc); (iv) ex officio;
Representation of country circles and global networks would be based on pools. E.g. PHM affiliated networks would be included in the pool, which would be represented on the SC by a rotating panel. Regional pools of country circles, e.g. established country circles in Africa would be pooled, and have two reps on SC each with a term of 2 years, but with staggered changeover. The networks and country circles without a seat on the SC would have access to all the papers but no vote and no financial support for attendance at meetings. The key PHM projects & campaigns would be required to demonstrate an organising group and to rotate representation on the SC. Newly emerging functions / projects / campaigns could be co-opted onto the SC as necessary. If a project became moribund the representation should be discontinued.
The Secretariat to write a Discussion Paper on the proposed, ensuring that total numbers are practicable and proportions appropriate. We also need clear principles upon which CoCo is constituted.
Constituency of PH Assembly and PHM democracy and decision making
There is a tension between PHA as an inspirational gathering and as a formal constituent assembly with direction setting authority over PHM. Our goal is to make it a constituent assembly but this depends on the development of the country and regional level structures. PHA3 (to be held in 2011) will therefore be a hybrid of the two. Special status will be given to countries which establish appropriate representatives structures and run national assembly’s before the PHA. Appropriate recognition will also be given to global networks.
These issues to be considered in conjunction with the report of the PHA3 Feasibility Committee.