January 26, 2022

Statement: 150th Session of the World Health Organization Executive Board

Corporate Accountability calls on WHO Executive Board to keep tobacco, alcohol, food, and beverages corporations out of public health policymaking

Delivered by Keltie Vance, associate campaigns director.

Video transcript

My name is Keltie Vance speaking on behalf of Corporate Accountability, a member organization representing thousands of people around the world that for over 40 years has challenged abusive corporations that prioritize profits over public health.

In the face of intersecting health crises today, on the one hand the onset of the pandemic, and on the other NCDs emerging as severe risk factors causing extreme impact of the disease, it has never been more urgent to regulate the commercial determinants exacerbating this compounding public health crisis the world is battling today.

As we continue to bear the brunt of this crisis via death, disease, and destruction of economies and social systems, the massive multibillion dollar transnational food, beverage, alcohol, and tobacco companies have exploited these times to further consolidate their power, leveraging economic vulnerabilities in low- and middle-income countries.

Thus, it is imperative that the WHO immediately protects its policy development and implementation across all of its pillars, from deep conflicts of interest and fundamental inequities embedded in working with the private sector representing harmful products. These industries continue to apply immense resources to obstruct public health policy globally and should not be consulted as partners or stakeholders in setting public health policy. The FENSA will fall short in this regard. But Article 5.3 of the FCTC can provide foundational guidance for protecting all of the non-communicable disease and obesity related work of the WHO from industry interests.

We thank the WHO Executive Board for the opportunity to provide this intervention and urge the WHO to create a comprehensive corporate accountability framework to protect its work across issues, especially related to non-communicable diseases and obesity, to ensure not the profit motive but the people’s health and well-being remain central to its mandate.

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Corporate Accountability is looking for a new Executive Director