Let me start out by thanking the Advisory Group for very good reports on the status of implementation of the framework.
Norway recognizes recent progress made in implementing the PIP framework, including the conclusion of a first SMTA II-agreement with a major vaccine manufacturer, and other negotiations well under way. We also note with satisfaction that there are no reports of malfunctioning or missing elements of the framework.
Among the remaining challenges in the implementation process is the need to speed up this process. That is further accentuated by the recent outbreak of H7 N9 influensa cases. The challenge is twofold; continue implementation of the wide range of actions described in the framework, while giving sufficient priority to concluding more SMTA II-agreements with major vaccine manufacturers.
A proposal discussed at the meeting of the Advisory group in March would allow the Secretariat to spend a limited part of the annual partnership contributions for a period of maximum 4 years in order to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat to finalize negotiations with industry.
We recognize the difficult situation in the Secretariat concerning resources available for the SMTA II-negotiations. The sustainable way to address this is for the Director-General to allocate sufficient resources to this important work in the short term, and for Member States to make use of the financial dialogue (to be established by this Assembly) to ensure that this actually happens.
However, strengthening the secretariat for the purpose of finalizing negotiations on the SMTA II-agreements is a pressing issue. We would therefore agree to the proposal from the Advisory group as a short term measure to address this issue.