INITIATIVES WE SUPPORT

 

Wemos collaborates with other organisations to make our (joint) messages and advocacy stronger. These are recent initiatives that we have co-signed and can count on our support.

September 29, 2021 (Finance for health): Call for Principles for Fair Channeling of Special Drawing Rights in letter to G20, Central Bank and the IMF – In a letter initiated by Latindadd to world finance leaders, 280 civil society organisations (including Wemos) and academics call on wealthy countries to redistribute their global reserve currency – or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – to help vulnerable countries. SDRs are a cost-free foreign exchange reserve asset that can be used to provide additional liquidity, and that can be disbursed only by the IMF. They are allocated based on a country’s participation to the IMF budget – which means that most SDRs go to rich countries. This is why it is important that these countries channel their share of SDRs towards low- and middle-income countries. They should then follow six principles: rechanneling must be (1) debt-free, (2) conditionality-free, (3) transparent and accountable, (4) accessible for middle-income countries, (5) additional to (e.g., it should not be given instead of) existing ODA commitments, and (6) must prioritise budget support for public services.

 

September 9, 2021 (Access to medicines): Letter calling upon the Council of the European Union to include clinical trial transparency in EMA’s mandate – The members of the European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines, including Wemos, urge the Council of the European Union to ensure that enhancing clinical trial transparency is part of the extended mandate of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It is crucial that information on clinical trials is made available in a timely, user-friendly and complete manner. This avoids unnecessary duplications and accelerates the development of new therapies and vaccines, especially during a public health emergency.

 

June 29, 2021 (Access to medicines): Letter calling upon the European Commission to support waiving Covid-19 related intellectual property rights – Wemos and over 200 other civil society organizations from around the world, signed a letter to the European Commission and EU Member States urging them to make serious work of temporary suspension of intellectual property rights of Covid-19 technologies, such as vaccines, through the so-called TRIPS waiver. The signatories of the letter point out that the European Commission has so far offered no meaningful solutions to achieve equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and other medical products (medicines, diagnostics, etc.) to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

June 24, 2021 (Finance for health): Letter to OECD-DAC regarding Enabling Civil Society to participate in development affairs – Wemos is one of the 122 civil society organisations around the world, urging the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – Development Assistance Committee (OECD – DAC) to take a decision in favour of the draft Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society. Approval for this Recommendation will send a powerful message about the essential importance of inclusive, democratic development options in tackling the formidable challenges in human development, including health, and other areas of development and in reversing the growing inequalities due to the pandemic.

 

April 26, 2021 (Access to medicines): Joint press release calling for support to waive patent protections on Covid-19 vaccines – Wemos and 38 other NGOs co-signed a press release of Health Action International (HAI) urging the European Commission and EU governments to support the so-called TRIPS waiver. This initiative would allow countries to suspend patent protections for the duration of the corona pandemic. This way, all certified pharmaceutical companies obtain the right to produce approved Covid-19 vaccines, which is crucial in making them available for everyone, everywhere.

 

March 15, 2021 (Finance for health): Letter to the World Bank Executive Directors about ceasing publication of the Doing Business Report – More than 300 civil society organisations and academics from across the world – including Wemos – call upon the World Bank Executive Directors to end the publication of the World Bank’s Doing Business report. The report has been criticized for many years by civil society organisations, academia and trade unions, because it encourages countries to adopt policies that have worsened inequalities. Examples of these include eroding labor protections or lowering corporate tax rates. The report and the ranking it includes promote policies that undermine progressive increase of public resources, at a time when these are badly needed to counter the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on health and overall well-being.

UPDATE 16 September, 2021: the World Bank Group management decided to discontinue the Doing Business report. The decision was taken after an internal investigation regarding irregularities in the production of the report. The report was also widely criticized by civil society for rewarding higher “business scores” to countries with lower corporate tax rates and with less labor protection regulations than other countries.

 

February 15, 2021 (Access to medicines): Call-to-action from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for an equitable rollout of Covid-19 vaccines – Wemos has co-signed a letter from Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. With the letter, over 200 CSOs call on national governments, pharmaceutical companies and donors to take action to guarantee equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The goal is to ensure timely access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines for everyone, everywhere. This objective is hampered by an insufficient vaccine supply, a lack of fair global access, inefficient delivery systems and the widespread practice of so-called vaccine nationalism. Therefore, the letter calls for urgent action to address these challenges and to ensure a fair and equitable roll-out of vaccines through COVAX, using the by Wemos supported COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP),C-TAP. Wemos endorses the ten ‘calls to action’ of the letter.

 

December 17, 2020 (Access to medicines): Appeal to European Commission for transparency on contract negotiations for COVID-19 vaccines – The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) urges the European Commission to increase transparency on the contract negotiations with pharmaceutical companies for COVID-19 vaccines. Wemos supports this message as we believe that national parliaments should have access to the information in these contracts in order to discuss whether the agreements were fair. Furthermore, increased transparency could lead to a better position for governments during future negotiations.

 

December 2, 2020 (Access to medicines): Wemos supports the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Cure – In order to work toward healthcare for all during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is substantial that access to Covid-19 related diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines is not hindered by any restrictions. The European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Cure aims to address the collective health threat with a collective response and asks the European Commission to consider Covid-19 medication as a universal common good, accessible to all and to ensure this in practice. The initiative proposes four (legislative) actions that contribute to that goal, all of which are supported by Wemos. The European Commission will decide on what action to take when the initiative is signed by 1 million European citizens before November 30, 2021. Sign the initiative here.

 

November 30, 2020 (General): Reclaiming comprehensive public health: a 10-point call to action – With this call, aimed towards heads of state and government at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Reclaiming Comprehensive Public Health (RCPH) Group state their concerns regarding missed opportunities to build co-operation, public trust and effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and regarding the resulting suffering and rights violations endured by people across the world. They group calls on them to ensure that that responses to the pandemic are guided by the 10 principles listed in the call. The action promotes comprehensive, equity-focused and participatory public health approaches in countering the pandemic, which is in line with Wemos’ vision and rights-based approach.

 

November 19, 2020 (Access to medicines): Joint open letter to the European Parliament and national governments calling for support for a COVID-19 WTO TRIPS waiver – In response to the request from South Africa and India at the address of the World Trade Organization to suspend patents on Covid-19 related technologies (vaccines, etc.), several NGOs, led by MSF, have written an open letter to the European Parliament and the national governments. In the letter, the undersigned request support for a temporary waiver of patent rights, as proposed by South Africa and India. Such a waiver allows third parties to produce and market newly developed Covid-19 technologies. With this proposal the undersigned organizations aim to ensure sufficient access and availability to vaccines etc. for all in order to curb the pandemic.

 

October 27, 2020 (General): Opinie: Mensen onder de armoedegrens kunnen geen broekriem aanhalen (Dutch) – In violation of the agreement, the Dutch cabinet wants to cut back on development cooperation. A disastrous decision for people living in the world’s poorest countries,  especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, argues Garance Reus-Deelder (Plan International Netherlands) on behalf of 26 aid organisations, including Wemos, in her opinion piece in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.

 

October 19, 2020 (General): Vraag Nederland te investeren in gezondheid voor iedereen (Dutch) – With this petition, ONE, Cordaid, Aidsfonds, Amref Flying Doctors, NVTG, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, KNCV Tuberculosis Fund, PharmAccess, PSI-Europe, Wemos and other Dutch organisations call on the Dutch government and the House of Representatives to invest more in development cooperation and health worldwide in the next administration term (2021-2025), to realize access to affordable and good healthcare for all.

 

October 15, 2020 (Access to medicines): Civil society letter supporting proposal by India and South Africa on waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 – In this joint letter to the World Trade Organization (WTO), civil society organisations – including Wemos – call on all WTO Members to strongly support the adoption of the decision text proposed by India and South Africa in their proposal for “Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID19” (Waiver Proposal).

 

October 6, 2020 (Finance for health): Statement against IMF austerity – Over 500 organisations and academics from 87 countries, including Wemos, issued a statement calling on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop promoting austerity and instead support policies that advance gender justice, reduce inequality, and put people and planet first.

 

September 29, 2020 (Access to medicines): COVID survivors from 37 countries write to pharmaceutical bosses to demand a People’s Vaccine – Survivors of COVID-19 from 37 countries are among almost 1,000 people who have signed an open letter to pharmaceutical industry leaders calling for a ‘people’s vaccine’ and treatments that are available to all – free from patents. The letter comes on the eve of a high-level side event about the pandemic at the UN General Assembly in New York tomorrow (30 September). The letter was organised by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a global coalition of organisations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a people’s vaccine for COVID-19 that is based on shared knowledge and is freely available to everyone everywhere. The alliance is coordinated by Oxfam and UNAIDS and its members include Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now, Nizami Ganjavi International Center, STOPAIDS, Wemos and the Yunus Centre.

 

September 17, 2020 (Access to medicines): Letter to Director-General World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – With this letter, Corporación Innovarte, Health Action International (HAI), Health GAP (Global Access Project), Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Medicines Law & Policy, Secretariado de Cáritas, América Latina y el Caribe, Salud y Fármacos, and Wemos request that WIPO include information about commitments made by countries, research institutions, industry and other relevant actors to the WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) in the WIPO COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker. The launch of the Tracker is an important contribution to the advancement of the goal to end the pandemic. Tracking how technology is being shared is a critical part of the understanding the Tracker aims to build.

 

August 28, 2020 (Access to medicines): Open letter to European Medicines Agency (EMA) calling for access to documents requests via email – The letter, signed by 28 individuals and CSO’s, including ourselves, calls on the EMA to take the simple step of providing an email address so that EU citizens can send access to documents requests directly via email. The letter, coordinated by Access Info Europe and TranspariMED, has been made necessary by the EMA’s refusal to accept information requests by any means other than an online form. This is in direct violation of both the EU’s access to documents regulation (Regulation 1049/2001) and the EMA’s internal rules, which clearly state that requests can be made “in writing including electronic form”.

 

July 13, 2020 (Access to medicines): Joint position paper on the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe – In this joint paper, signatories Changing Markets, European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines, European Public Health Alliance, Health Care Without Harm, ReAct, SIWI, Swedwatch and Wemos emphasise that Europe needs a clean and fair pharmaceutical sector, which operates without harming human rights nor the environment. Providing recommendations, they clearly outline actions needed in four key areas.

 

July 10, 2020 (General): Dutch cabinet’s decision on advice Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken (AIV) on global COVID-19 response inadequate (Dutch) – In a response to the Dutch cabinet’s decision regarding the AIV’s advice ‘The Netherlands and the global COVID-19 response’ to make available 150 million Euro, several Dutch organisations state that while this decision is a step in the right direction, it is however still inadequate. According to them, the compromise made by the coalition parties is disproportionate to all that is needed to fight the pandemic – in the context of increasing extreme hunger and poverty worldwide. The organisations therefore conclude that the AIV’s advice, as well as the accepted motion Van der Staaij, which requested the government to maintain the development budget, have not been implemented.

 

July 2, 2020 (Access to medicines): Health groups urge European universities and hospitals to make their clinical trial results public – In letters sent to 56 major medical research institutions, a coalition of 21 European health and patient groups (including Wemos) called on these institutions across the continent to make the results of their clinical trials public. Together, these institutions are responsible for at least 931 trials that are missing results on the European database, in violation of EU transparency rules adopted to protect patient interests.

 

June 29, 2020 (General): Urgent letter to CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) on global COVID-19 response (Dutch) – With this letter, several organisations (including Wemos) make an urgent appeal to the CDA to reach agreements with the current Dutch cabinet on ensuring that resources for a global COVID-19 response do not come at the expense of urgently needed future investments. Applying cuts – now or in the future – means that ultimately the most vulnerable people in low-income countries will receive even less support, especially as they are hit the hardest by the crisis.

 

June 25, 2020 (Access to medicines): Briefing on proposals for achieving equitable global access for treatments, vaccines and diagnostics resulting from the ACT Accelerator – This briefing, an initiative of the European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines, and supported by (among others) Wemos, sets out the principles and practices which should be operationalised within the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) – a partnership launched by the World Health Organization, governments and global health actors – to maximise the collective effort to ensure maximum global health impact and equitable reach, and to address challenges related to the management of the COVID-19 emergency and the development and delivery of needed treatments, vaccines and diagnostics.

 

June 10, 2020 (Access to medicines): Letter Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement – The Netherlands and the EU spur a global race for preferential access to COVID-19 vaccines where countries and regions outbid each other rather than collaborate. They should, instead, aim to maximise the global capacity of vaccine development to enable as many people as possible to be catered to as soon as possible. In a joint letter Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Access Campaign requests the European Commission and health ministers to guarantee international solidarity and pursue global equitable access to COVID-19 medical tools. The letter was endorsed by 54 organisations, including Wemos, and 15 people on personal title.

 

June 1, 2020 (General): Building Change response to Dutch government’s annual report on policy coherence (Dutch) – In this letter to Members of the Dutch Parliament, Building Change – a collaboration between Dutch NGOs focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals – provides a response to the government’s annual report on policy coherence. By highlighting five areas, such as tax justice and sustainable production and trade, Building Change explains whether the Dutch contribution to these areas indeed has a positive effect on the situation in low- and middle-income countries, or whether this can be improved. The letter was written by the core Building Change organisations Partos, Woord en Daad, and the Foundation Max van der Stoel, and includes contributions from other organisations, including Wemos.

 

May 14, 2020 (General): Letter minister Kaag in reaction to advice Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken (AIV) (Dutch) – 12 organisations from the SRHR and AIDS/HIV platform, including Wemos, signed this complementary letter to the AIV advice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having experience in (among others) AIDS response, they shared several insights relevant for COVID-19. They stress that a structural approach can only be effective in the long run when the most vulnerable groups – such as youth, young women and key populations – have a voice from the very start in determining the most urgent needs as well as developing sustainable solutions.

 

May 14, 2020 (Finance for health): OECD DAC and Paris Club will meet shortly and decide on how debt cancellation to countries will be registered. This is important as it may lead to double counting and inflation of official development assistance (ODA). At this time of rapid response from the international community to the COVID-19 crisis, we consider it relevant that the quantity and quality of financial support to countries remains high and that clarity on the underlying numbers is ensured. Together with 24 other civil society organisations, we co-signed a Joint CSO letter to the OECD DAC on Accounting Rules for Debt Relief as ODA to express our concerns about this matter.

 

May 4, 2020 (Access to medicines): Concrete actions needed for global pledges to result in access for all – A letter by the European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines, and supported by over 60 organisations and individuals in the health sector defending the public interest, sent to the EU Commissioners involved in the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Event held on May 4th. It welcomes the efforts to rally financial support and the ACT accelerator, it underscores the need for an accountable global coordination mechanism, the need to address barriers that impede access, and the need for binding clauses attached to COVID-19 R&D investments, amongst others the inclusion a global technology pool.

 

April 29, 2020 (General): Position paper advisory board AIV ‘Direct en duurzaam’ (Dutch) – With this position paper, Wemos and several other organisations have provided input for advice from the Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken (AIV) requested by the Dutch government, on how the Netherlands can effectively contribute to the global fight against COVID-19. We argue that the Netherlands should free up at least 1% of the total amount available for the COVID-19 approach to combat the pandemic in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries with weaker health systems. On the basis of the €90 billion mentioned by Minister Hoekstra, this means that €900 million can be earmarked for the global fight against COVID-19-related interventions, including the strengthening of health systems, investments in health personnel, and the accelerated development of an accessible, affordable COVID-19 vaccine.

 

April 8, 2020 (Finance for health): Joint statement – COVID-19 calls for effective aid and development cooperation more than ever – 56 global CSO signatories sent this joint statement to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-DAC), i.e. to the DAC Secretariat and each of the DAC member countries, including the Netherlands. The statement assesses what the current COVID-19 crisis asks from donor countries to ‘protect, fulfill, and surpass aid commitments’. Wemos contributed on the part that calls for greater and more effective investment in health systems (section 4).

 

April 7, 2020 (Access to medicines): Make vaccines, treatments and diagnostics related to the COVID-19 pandemic that are developed with public funding accessible at affordable cost to everyone worldwide – a letter from student organisation Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Netherlands (UAEM NL) to the Dutch government and the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU).

 

March 30, 2020 (General): Appeal for international solidarity in tackling the coronavirus – signed statement from 51 development, human rights and emergency organisations, on the initiative of Hivos – including Wemos – to the Dutch government.

March 27, 2020 (Access to medicines): Open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Member States on the proposal by Costa Rica to create a global pool for rights in the data, knowledge and technologies useful in the prevention, detection and treatment of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic – with this open letter to the World Health Organization and its member states, Wemos and other organisations and individuals show support for Costa Rica’s proposal for a global pooling mechanism of rights to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

March 25, 2020 (Access to medicines): The fight against COVID-19: let’s make public investments count for people – 61 organisations (including Wemos), consisting of patients, consumers, healthcare professionals, trade unions and public interest organisations express views on the importance of the role of public support to research and development during the current global pandemic.

 

March 23, 2020 (Finance for health): Joint CSO letter on Private Finance-related issues – With this letter, the undersigned 29 organisations (including Wemos) wish to react ahead of the next DAC Committee on 26th March 2020, to the recent release of ODA data reported as Private Sector Instruments (PSI), as well as to the Terms of Reference for a Community of Practice on Private Finance for Sustainable Development.

 

January 8, 2020 (Finance for health): Joint CSO letter on World Bank Group’s promotion of Public-Private Partnerships – CSOs (including Wemos) call on the World Bank to reorient its approach to PPPs so each PPP is in the public interest. With regard to health, CSOs urge the Bank to stop promoting market-based approaches – and instead work with countries to strengthen public health systems on aspects that have proven to be key in addressing socio-economic and gender inequalities in healthcare access.