Whatever policy is being discussed here, it was shaped outside of this fancy building.
Impressions from Geneva, where I've been attending the Executive Board meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with an international team of the People's Health Movement.
I know who to talk to, and those people are not in here. They are outside, working hard to pay their medical costs.
While inside of the executive board room, countries are basically doing a lot of blabla (thanking the chair, welcoming documents, asking for a draft review of the proposal of the working document of the committee on the working group of the suggested blue print of the draft of the draft of pooha), outside of the room business cards are being exchanged, hands shaken.
I must admit, for me, a still very young activist released in the jungle of costumes and technical vocabulary, it's very difficult to grasp what is going on here. Who should I talk to you? What do I tell these people? Will they even listen?
I can understand you can get easily lost in all the processes here. But there is one thing I am sure of. Whatever policy is being discussed here, it was shaped outside of this fancy building. The biggest powers - big pharma, big food, Nestlé- don't walk in here wearing a name tag. They already settle their interests through free trade agreements, investors state dispute settlements, using the revolving doors between industry and public authorities. All that I'm experiencing here, is no more than an echo of these global processes.
Alors, what can we do? What about us, the people, human rights? I know who to talk to, and those people are not in here. They are outside, in the factories, in the kitchen, working hard to pay their medical costs. We should keep pointing to our public representatives, making sure they fulfil the duty to protect our rights. But in the end, it will be us, the people, that will make change happen.
I can't wait to take everything I learned outside, back in the streets!
For those interested: I made a statement on behalf of the People's Health Movement in the meeting room, during the negociations, to adress the problematique of corporate influence on the WHO. You can watch the video here.