Monday, January 26, 2009

EU Parliament Delegation in Taiwan to Assist with WHA Bid; Executive Board 124th Session

A delegation of Members of the European Parliament (MEP) is currently in Taiwan, completing a visit to meet with Taiwan's health authorities. The visit is in support of the country's bid to join the World Health Organization (WHO) at its supreme-decision making body of member states, the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May.

Horst Posdorf (Committee on Development and leader of the delegation), Eugenijus Maldeikis (Lithuanian MEP Union for Europe of the Nations (UEN) and member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy) and Metin Kazak (Bulgarian deputy of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) are meeting with authorities in support of Taiwan's efforts to join the WHA at the 62nd annual conference in May. During their 5 day visit, the delegation will meet with various health authorities. Taiwan News reports meetings with "Legislative Yuan Deputy Speaker Tseng Yung-chuan; Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council Chao Chien-min; Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Sheng-chung Lin; ruling Kuomintang Deputy Chairman Wu Den-yih; and opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. Delegates will also visit the Government Information Office, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' International Cooperation and Development Fund. The trio will be invited to a banquet by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs David Y.L. Lin." Legislative Yuan Speaker, Wang Jin-pyng, will also address Parliament in plenary in Strasbourg next month.

A parliamentary source was reported in the morning bulletin of The Parliament as stating, "The delegation will try to gain a better understanding of Taiwan's political and economic development over the past few years." The bid is said to be supported by several senior MEPs, including the group leader of ALDE, Graham Watson, and Edward McMillan-Scott, British Conservative and vice president of parliament.

The Executive Board of the WHO is currently in its 124th Session in Geneva and will complete its agenda tomorrow. The Executive Board's considerations have included the Draft WHO Strategy on Research for Health. The Draft Strategy refers to Resolution 61.21 (the Global Strategy and Plan of Action adopted by the last WHA), to which the Draft Strategy must have regard. 61.21 The Draft Strategy notes the obstacles to its translation goal (to strengthen links between research, policy and practice) posed by inequities in access. It explicitly identifies restrictions on reuse (through copyright and intellectual property) as contributing to this problem, particularly in its interplay with competition issues (including interoperability of information systems).

The A2K discussion list disseminated the US intervention on the Draft Strategy, which raised concerns regarding the "portrayal of copyright and intellectual property issues" in the Draft Strategy. The intervention maintained "We do not see them as contributing to 'the global inequality of access to health data, tools, materials, and literature'." The US intervention emphasised intellectual property rights as a mechanism by which to gain access to materials rather than an obstacle.

In its advisory role to the WHA, the Executive Board is also due to meet in its 125th Session immediately after the WHA 62nd Session in May.

No comments: