At the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, IOGT International together with other civil society organizations (CSOs) has voiced grave concerns about the current Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA).
Together the more than 60 CSOs issued a press release and statement that was addressed to the Member States of the WHO. Civil society fears corporate capture of WHO and undermining of public health policy norms in the future.
The ad-hoc coalition stressed their concerns about the current version of the FENSA draft and the ongoing negotiations. The draft puts the private sector on equal footing with civil society organizations when it comes to access to WHO and participation in public policy-making processes at WHO. Therefore the fear is that businesses and private sector actors will be able to influence the decision-making process of the WHO.
The current FENSA draft allows them to enter into official relations with the World Health Organization. There is also no mention of measures against accepting financial resources from the private sector to pay WHO staff salaries. Civil society is therefore worried about conflict of interests. They also stated that the current FENSA draft has not correctly conceptualized the definition of conflict of interests.
IOGT International and other civil society organizations advocate for a FENSA which protects the independence, integrity and credibility of WHO. Such a framework should leave no room for conflict of interests and undue influence by commercial enterprises or their associations, like the alcohol industry and their SAPROs.