At WHO EB140 Civil Society Calls For Protection Of WHO From Regulated Industries
30 public interest groups, including IOGT International, express concern about Gates Foundation’s role at the World Health Organization
The following joint open letter was issued to members of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board at its 140th session. The decision on whether to include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the WHO’s governing body under new, apparently looser, conflict of interest rules is scheduled to be considered on Monday, January 31, 2017.
Part of the joint statement and open letter reads:
With all the World Health Organization’s posturing about conflict of interest safeguards and due diligence in its new approach to collaborating with non-state actors in its recently revised constitutional “Basic Documents,” the WHO ended speculation about its ambiguous plan when it proposed to admit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation into “Official Relations” with the WHO and as a non-voting member of its governing body, the World Health Assembly.
According to the United States Government’s Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust endowment—the source of revenue for the Foundation—is heavily invested in many of the food, alcohol, and physical inactivity- related consumer products that cause or treat the current crisis of preventable heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Gates Foundation Trust direct investments include:
- Coca-Cola regional company that operates in the Americas south of the U.S. ($466 million),
- Walmart ($837 million), the largest food retailer in the U.S. and a leading retailer of pharmaceutical drugs and alcoholic beverages,
- Walgreen-Boots Alliance ($280 million), a large multinational pharmaceutical drug retailer, and
- two of the world’s largest TV companies (screen-time): Group Televisa ($433 million) and Liberty Global PLC ($221 million).”
Conflict of interest due to investments in Big Alcohol, Big Soda etc.
Walmart is selling alcohol in 31 federal states (as of August 2016).
A 2013 article in Bloomberg news announced that the chain had “moved aggressively to grab market share” and aimed to “double” alcohol sales. In fact Wal-Mart has expressed the desire to be “the number-one beer seller in the world.”
By 2016, Walmart had also started investing in craft beer and producing its own brands, as the Business Insider reports.
Joint Open Letter
Read the complete joint open letter here (PDF).