Closed-Door WHO/CBD Workshop Next Week On Sharing Of Pathogens

The World Health Organization will hold a closed workshop with the Convention on Biological Diversity next week on the sharing of pathogens under the international rules on access and benefit sharing to genetic resources of the Nagoya Protocol.

On 11-12 June, the WHO in collaboration with the UN Convention on Biodiversity, is organising a closed workshop on “Facilitating access and benefit sharing (ABS) for pathogens to support public health,” according to the WHO.

The objectives of the workshop are to promote international awareness and coordination on access to pathogens and sharing of benefits which could be arising from their use. Countries will be invited to share experiences in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, and in particular its public health provisions.

The WHO has been instructed by its members (WHA decision 70/10) to consult with the CBD in the context of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework. Some concerns were voiced by some member states that the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol might delay the sharing of influenza viruses. At the recent annual World Health Assembly, a WHO secretariat official called on WHO members to engage with the CBD to prioritise health concerns (HPW, WHO, 7 June 2018).

The workshop is expected to look into preliminary access and benefit-sharing best practices for pathogens that could support public health surveillance, preparedness and response, and identify approaches which could operationalise those best practices, in particular in times of health emergency.

According to the WHO, the workshop will gather experts and representatives, from all sectors: public, private, non-governmental, academic and technical laboratory. The meeting is closed to the press; no reason was given.


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