Norway would like to commend the Consultative Expert Working Group for their work. The report submitted for the Assembly’s consideration is an important input in the debate of one of the most pressing challenges that this organisation is faced with; how to increase research and development into diseases that primarily affect developing countries. It is our hope that the report of the working group will contribute to a sustained focus on this important issue and bring about changes that will have a lasting impact for access to medicines against these diseases.
As the report rightly points out; the challenge is not new. It has for a long time been the focus of the work of this organisation and its member states; continuously since the Commission on Public health, innovation and intellectual property delivered its report in 2006 and the WHA decided to establish an intergovernmental working group to take the issue forward.
We find it important to remind us all of this long line of work. The work of the present working group is not a stand-alone initiative, but builds on a decade of previous work, and specifically answers to the request for proposals, as laid out in the Element nr 7 of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action.
Chair; my delegation first and foremost wants to describe the report as very comprehensive dealing with very complex issues and containing potentially far-reaching proposals.
One month has now passed since the report became available. We have started the studying of the report and its recommendations but we have not completed this process. We do at this point not have a good enough understanding of the recommendations, neither a unified national position. The recommendations touch upon areas of responsibility of a number of Ministries. There has not been sufficient time to coordinate any national position on this so far.
We look forward to participate in a process of thorough discussion; nationally as well as within a WHO context, in order to better understand the recommendations and their implications. An African proverb comes to my mind; “If you want to go fast; go alone. If you want to go far; go with others”. On this issue; we want to go far and find long lasting solutions. The primary goal of this WHA should therefore be to outline a process whereby we can start the walking.