WHO, WIPO, WTO to hold technical symposium on response, preparedness to future pandemics

10 November 2022

World Health Organization (Geneva)
PRESS RELEASE, 10 November 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold on 16 December a joint technical symposium on "COVID-19 Pandemic: Response, Preparedness, Resilience". The event will take place in hybrid form at WIPO headquarters. 

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an extraordinary global public health crisis affecting people and populations around the globe and involving a broad range of policy areas. Large-scale efforts since early 2020 to develop effective treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines resulted in the approval of the first vaccines in late 2020. These efforts highlighted the urgent need for a response along the entire value chain of COVID-19 related health technologies, ranging from research and development of those technologies to their medical regulation, procurement, distribution and responsible use.

The objective of the Symposium is to examine key challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced within the frameworks of health, trade and intellectual property (IP) and discuss the way forward to build resilience to be better prepared for future pandemics. The event will be opened by the three Directors-General. The keynote address will be delivered by Salim Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research In South Africa (CAPRISA) and Professor of Global Health, Columbia University, who will review developments during the pandemic and options for a way forward from a scientific perspective. 

This will be followed by two panel discussions. During the first panel, speakers will share their respective experiences regarding select key challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, including R&D, scaling up and diversifying manufacturing, transfer of technology and know-how and equitable access to medical technologies. Speakers on the second panel will be invited to review initiatives to respond and recover from the current health crisis and build resilience for future pandemics. The Symposium will be interactive and will offer a forum for all stakeholders to exchange views and experiences.

The Symposium is the ninth in a series of joint technical symposia convened by WHO, WIPO and WTO.  It builds on the collaborative work undertaken by the three agencies to enhance capacity in their respective memberships to deal with issues at the intersection between health, trade and intellectual property, including the Trilateral Study "Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation".  The Study and information about the previous symposia are available at: WHO, WIPO and WTO.

A draft program, online registration and a live webcast will be available from the meeting webpage. Online registration is mandatory by December 11, 2022 at Webinar Registration - Zoom

Participation is open to all interested individuals and organizations. In-person attendance is subject to availability of space. Registered participants without United Nations or WIPO accreditation must present an official and valid form of identification.  The symposium will be held in English only; no interpretation will be available.