Accueil > News > Press Conference: Health governance in the public interest? WHO redefines conflicts of interest and risks undermining public health mandates

Ever since public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been hailed as a key policy model, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been promising to upgrade its conflict of interest measures to ensure its mandate is not jeopardized by overly close relationships with private sector actors. WHO has not honoured these promises and the world has failed to pay attention.

Instead, a dangerous policy shift has occurred. WHO has moved from neglecting conflict of interest issues to blurring the entire conflict of interest concept. Warnings about the risk this shift poses to WHO’s integrity, independence, and trustworthiness have been ignored.

On May 17, 2018, IBFAN GIFA organized a press conference at the Club Suisse de la Presse, prior to the 71stWorld Health Assembly, focusing on conflicts of interest in relation to the emerging system of undemocratic global ‘multi-stakeholder governance’.

The aim was to stimulate debate about undue influence in health and nutrition policy-making and the need to prevent a reduction of WHO’s role to that of a fundraiser and broker of public-private hybrids. Key actions include correcting policy documents such as WHO’s Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA), questioning harmful discourses, and opening up space for public scrutiny.

The panel was composed by:

Judith Richer, PhD Soc.Sc. MSc. Title of the presentation – Global health and nutrition governance and the politics of conflicts of interest (PDF)

David Miller, Professor of Sociology. Title of the presentation – Mapping the web of influence: Conflict of interest and the corporate capture of science, civil society and policy (PDF)

David Klemperer, MD, Professor of Public Health and Social Medicine. Title of the presentation – There’s no such thing such a free lunch (PDF)

Watch the webcast here.