Please ask health, human rights or development organisations to endorse the statement calling for effective safeguards against conflicts of interest. Large for-profit corporations and their front groups will be attending the Comprehensive Review and Assessment of the Progress achieved in the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. General Assembly, New York City, 10-11 July 2014 We are calling for clarity and for effective safeguards that will ensure that they are not allowed to influence the policies of the United Nations. If your organisation can endorse this statement send an email with your NAME, TITLE and SCANNED SIGNATURE to: Bill Jeffery, Centre for Science in the Public Interest: firstname.lastname@example.org CSPI link here: http://www.cspinet.org/canada/foodstrategies.html Great if you can send a copy to me: email@example.com Useful links
1. The most recent version of the NGO-joint statement: http://cspinet.org/canada/pdf/conflict-of-interest-safeguards_health-trump-trade.july2014.pdf
2. The most recent draft of the 2014 official political declaration of the United Nation is available here: http://www.who.int/nmh/events/2014/outcome-document.pdf?ua=1
3. Meeting details: http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/68/events/hlm_ncd.shtml
4. The meetings will be webcast July 10-11, 2014 at: http://webtv.un.org/
5. List of High Level Meeting political declarations since 1946: http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/resins.htm
5. The joint statement of NGOs and periodically updated list of signatories is available at: http://cspinet.org/canada/pdf/conflict-of-interest-safeguards_health-trump-trade.july2014.pdf Background In September 2011, governments gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to unanimously agree to a Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. This was the second UN declaration to focus on a health issue since World War II (the other focused on HIV-AIDS in 2001). Out of concern for the lack of attention to conflicts of interest and the way corporations were inappropriately influencing the proceedings, a Conflict of Interest Coalition was formed. It had a very specific objective: to call on the United Nations General Assembly to bring in effective safeguards to protect public health policy setting from commercial interests. Our 2011 Statement was rapidly endorsed by 162 NGOs and networks, representing over 2000 NGOs. Government leaders will gather again in NYC on July 10-11, 2014 to take stock of progress. Supporters of the Coalition will be attending the meeting and will raise the same concerns: COIC/COIN 2014 Statement CLICK HERE for background papers on the WHO website. The Public Private Partnership approach follows the vision for future global governance outlined in the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative (WEF-GRI). As outlined in the NGO letter on ICN2 - according to the WEF’s key global public issues can be removed from UN agencies’ agendas whenever they risk resulting in policies or regulations ‘unfriendly’ to profit maximisation. “Stakeholderisation” blunts necessary political conflicts, brings TNCs in as the indispensable ‘stakeholder’ in any policy-making arena. This risks a loss of democratic principles, diverts attention from the role of corporations in causing malnutrition, in all of its forms, and the urgent need for regulation. The COI statement was used in Informal interactive hearing with NGOs, civil society organizations, the private sector and academia on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases on the 16th June. http://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/926 If you would like to join the Conflict of Interest Network please contact me for the Terms of Reference.
`TEXT of the Statement
* The Conflict of Interest Network (COIN) is the formally constituted organisation that builds on the Conflict of Interest Coalition Statement.On the occasion of the Comprehensive Review and Assessment of the Progress achieved in the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. General Assembly 10-11 July 2014 Call for reaffirmation of the 2011 Political Declaration and effective safeguards against conflicts of interest.
The Conflict of Interest Coalition/Network * was founded in June 2011 at this Assembly with a specific objective to help safeguard the United Nation’s integrity and independence and to ensure its ability to protect health and public health policy setting from commercial influence when dealing with policies related to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Our ‘Statement of Concern’, sent to the UN President and the co-facilitators of the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2011, focuses on the lack of clarity regarding the role of corporations and their business interest associations in public policy-making and the urgent need to identify, manage and avoid conflicts of interest.
The Statement has been endorsed by 162 public health groups and networks representing more than 2,000 groups in most Member States and relates to the marketing of unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco products that continue to be a major contributor to the annual toll of 36 million deaths due to NCDs.
As new multi- and bi-lateral trade agreements are emerging, it is critically important that the UN and WHO, as the lead authority on this issue, support and defend Member States’ rights and duty to protect public health through effective legally-binding controls on marketing.
We are calling on the UN to recognize the need for clarity and action on both individual and institutional conflicts of interest and propose that the following definitions may be useful:
“[Individual] conflicts of interest are defined as circumstances that create a risk that professional judgements or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”
“Institutional conflicts of interest arise when an institution’s own financial interest or those of its senior officials pose risks of undue influence on decisions involving the institution’s primary interests.” 1
1 Lo, B. and M. Field, Inst of Med. (US) Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice, Eds. (2009).