Do more than make some noise…

By Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director, HIV, Health and Development Group, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

The theme of this year's Zero Discrimination Day is make some noise. Raising our voices in solidarity for compassion, diversity, equality, inclusion and tolerance is core to our common humanity. Today we renew our commitment to achieving a world free of stigma and discrimination and a world where no one is left behind.

History has taught us that noise can be a powerful tool. Today we pay tribute to the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Intersex) community, people living with HIV and their friends, lovers, family members and allies who courageously mobilized to push past the chronic indifference and fear that characterized the early days of AIDS. Their tenacious advocacy means that today we have 18.2 million people on life-saving treatment and communities continue to hold governments to account, claiming their rights to participation, non-discrimination, information, access to treatment and new prevention technologies like pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The global AIDS response has also taught us that noise alone is not enough.


United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Calls for New Deal to Close the Health Innovation and Access Gap

Whether it's the rising price of the EpiPen, or new outbreaks of diseases, like Ebola, Zika and yellow fever, the rising costs of health technologies and the lack of new tools to tackle health problems, like antimicrobial resistance, is a problem in rich and poor countries alike.

According to a High-Level Panel convened to advise the UN Secretary-General on improving access to medicines, the world must take bold new approaches to both health technology innovation and ensuring access so that all people can benefit from the medical advances that have dramatically improved the lives of millions around the world in the last century.

For decades, many international treaties and national constitutions have enshrined the fundamental right to health and the right to share in the benefits of scientific advancements. Yet, while the world is witnessing the immense potential of science and technology to advance health care, gaps and failures in addressing disease burdens and emerging diseases in many countries and communities remain. The misalignment between the right to health on the one hand and intellectual property and trade on the other, fuel this tension.


AIDS 2016 - Risks, rights and health: Taking stock of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law

Monday 18 July 2016 • 12.30PM – 2.30PM • Durban International Convention Centre, Room 12 • AIDS 2016, 21st International AIDS Conference • Durban, South Africa


Four years after the Global Commission on HIV and the Law released its report on the impact of laws, policies and practices on those living with and most vulnerable to HIV, UNDP is taking stock of its recommendations on the AIDS response. This satellite session offers the opportunity for participants to:

  • Discuss successes and challenges in advancing its recommendations; and
  • Identify opportunities to advance a human rights-based response to HIV


  • Chaired by: J.V.R. Prasada Rao (UN Secretary General Special Envoy for AIDS Asia & the Pacific)
  • Keynote speaker: Stephen Lewis Co-Director, AIDS-Free World


Download the flyer

New report provides guidelines for the examination of patent applications relating to pharmaceuticals

The United Nations Development Programme has released a new publication, titled Guidelines for the Examination of Patent Applications relating to Pharmaceuticals, which aims at providing guidance for countries to enhance the functioning and transparency of the patent system for the timely and affordable access to lifesaving treatment. Affordable access to treatment is closely linked with the aspiration to ensure health and well-being for all, as embodied in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.

This publication examines initiatives in countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, India and the Philippines; which have taken steps to factor in public health considerations into the examination of patent applications. This approach recognizes the key role that patent offices and patent examiners play in safeguarding the appropriate balance between protecting the rights of inventors and incentivizing innovation, and promoting accessibility and affordability of treatments. The publication proposes a number of recommendations on guidelines that can be adopted as criteria for the examination of patent applications, so that the public health perspective is properly integrated into the procedures for the granting of patents on pharmaceuticals.

Download the report

UN High-Level Panel: Ideas For Change To Global Health And IP System Proliferate

Public health advocates, academics, patients, governments and others this week presented further ideas to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines on ways to break the longstanding pattern of expensive medical products around the world as a way to pay for research and development.

The second public dialogue of the High-Level Panel took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17 March, a day after closed-door meetings with a range of experts who submitted written comments to the panel. A first public dialogue was held in London last week (IPW, Public Health, 11 March 2016).

The full Johannesburg webcast is available here.