5th High-Level Symposium on Global Health Diplomacy


10 Years after the Doha Declaration: The future agenda at the interface of Public Health, Innovation and Trade: An outlook on the next ten years


23 November 2011, Council Room, World Trade Organization, Geneva


The annual high-level symposium of the Global Health Programme explores critical issues and new developments in global health with particular relevance to the intersection of health, foreign policy and trade. This year’s symposium focused on the future agenda at the interface of public health, innovation and trade under the auspices of Madame Ruth Dreifuss, former chairperson of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH). The Graduate Institute provided a neutral, academic platform that brings together various stakeholders.

Ten years have passed since the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which was a paradigm shift towards a greater focus on issues related to intellectual property and public health. Significant achievements have been made to better recognise public health values in framing the intellectual property and international trading system, including the works of the WHO Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property and the WIPO Development Agenda. At the same time, major challenges remain: overcoming the main infectious diseases, increasing research for neglected diseases, the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, as well as other emerging public health threats and a changing economic climate.

The complex relationship between public health, innovation and trade necessitates a more holistic approach in the future, involving a wide range of actors. The symposium aimed to review achievements and challenges in promoting access and innovation, to foster policy coherence between different international organisations, as well as other key stakeholders, and to discuss the remaining challenges and their future impact on a comprehensive work agenda.

Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, engaged in a dialogue on these issues at the symposium. Other prominent speakers from governments, academia, the private sector, international organisations and non-governmental organisations also provided their perspectives and highlighted the relevance of the interface of public health, innovation and trade for policy- and decision-makers.