PVA Letter to WTO DG Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

PVA Letter to WTO DG Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Sent: 14 December 2022.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Director-General’s Office

Centre William Rappard

Rue de Lausanne, 154

Case postale

1211 Genève 2


Dear Dr Okonjo-Iweala,

RE: The urgent need to agree to expand the WTO June 2022 Decision on COVID-19 vaccines to cover tests and therapeutics.

We are a global alliance of more than 160 organizations and experts from across the world, writing today to urge you to act on behalf of the interests of the hundreds of millions of people across the developing world facing COVID-19 without access to treatments or even tests. We are very concerned about the lack of Decision at the TRIPS Council meeting on the 6th of December and the proposed delay on this urgent matter until June 2023. Each day of delay means more infections, more deaths, and greater difficulties for the global economic recovery.

The WTO has the power and opportunity to help developing countries control the virus by expanding the June 2022 Decision on vaccine intellectual property to cover tests and therapeutics by the 17th December 2022 deadline agreed by WTO member countries.

The WTO played an important role in the global response to the HIV crisis through the Doha declaration; a landmark WTO agreement that established that public health supersedes commercial interest. This step forward was made possible by WTO members coming together to negotiate in good faith to reach such a compromise.

During the COVID-19 crisis, however, wealthy countries shamefully used the WTO to prioritize the commercial interests of their pharmaceutical companies over the health of people in poorer nations. Despite warm words from many Western leaders, there was no evidence of solidarity at the WTO.

COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics are vital for controlling the pandemic and preventing hospitalisations, loss of life, long-term health consequences, and economic disruptions. However, access to these life-saving medical technologies remains grossly inadequate in developing countries, as pharmaceutical companies prioritise high prices and profits in rich markets.

In June 2022, WTO members issued a Decision applying only to COVID-19 vaccines that clarified some WTO intellectual property rules. We, the People’s Vaccine Alliance, believe that despite its significant limitations, the Decision could still help to diversify manufacturing and improve affordable access if extended to tests and treatments, This is the case because, in contrast to COVID-19 vaccines, technology transfer and a full waiver of intellectual property barriers are not necessary for generic medicine producers to make and export ample supplies of affordable treatments and tests.

Put simply, after failing the world in June of this year, the WTO is getting a second chance to make a meaningful impact in the fight against COVID-19 before the end of 2022.

It has been almost three years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Hundreds of millions of people remain unvaccinated in developing countries, facing the disease without treatment or protection. The pandemic remains a constant threat to people’s lives and livelihoods, and still, developing countries lack affordable access to COVID diagnostics and therapeutics. Hundreds of new treatments are in the pipeline with scores in final trials, but they will remain out of reach without action from the WTO.

Developing countries and civil society across the world are looking to you to show leadership and to show that you have their best interests in the forefront of your mind. We urge you to publicly resist the deliberate attempts from rich nations to delay negotiations beyond 2022. Any delay would be a damaging blow to the WTO’s credibility.

We urge you to use your influence to ensure that a decision is made to expand the June 2022 COVID-19 Decision to cover therapeutics and diagnostics by the deadline of 17th December 2022 in order to ensure that current and potential future treatments and tests become available and affordable for all.


The People’s Vaccine Alliance

AbibiNsroma Foundation

Access to Medicines Ireland


ActionAid International

Africa Japan Forum

African Alliance

Ahadi Achievers Empowerment CBO, Ahadi Achievers Empowerment CBO

Alan Rossi Silva, Staff Attorney at the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA)

Amira Herdoiza , Executive Director Kimirina

Amnesty International

Anne Marie Collins, EqualHealth

Annette Gaudino, Activist

Annie Namala, Convener, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan


Asia Russell, Executive Director, Health Global Access Project (Health GAP)

Asociación de Mujeres Gente Nueva (AMUGEN)

Asociación de mujeres VIH Santa Micaela

Beckie Malay, PRRM

BMS World Mission

Cadre de concertation des ONG et Associations actives en éducation de base au Burkina Faso

Catherine Dimitroulias, President of the Association of Women of Southern Europe AFEM

Centre for Health Equity Zimbabwe

César Artiga, Presidente de Asociación Generaciones de Paz (ASDEPAZ)


Citizens Trade Campaign

Civil Society SDGs Campaign GCAP Zambia

Coalition for People’s Right to Health

Council for NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA)

Diarmaid McDonald, Director, Just Treatment

Dini Andriani , Manager Program

Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality

Dr Marlise Richter, Researcher

Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener, Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network

Dr Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director of Institute for Economic Research on Innovation

Dr Tinashe Goronga, Center for Health Equity Zimbabwe

Dr Jonathan Nkalubo, Equal Health – Uganda Chapter

EL GADDARI Abdelhalim, Programs director

Empower India

Engr(Dr.) Janet Adeyemi, National President at Women in Mining Nigeria


EqualHealth Global Campaign Against Racism

GCAP Ghana

GCAP Italy

GCAP Sri Lanka-SDG Networks, Secretary General

George Carter, Founder/Director, Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)

Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)

Global Humanitarian Progress Corporation GHP Corp

Global Humanitarian Progress GHP Corp, Luz Marina Umbasia

Global Justice Now

Graham Dutfield, Professor of International Governance, University of Leeds

Halley Movement Coalition, Director

Hani Serag, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch

Harry Prabowo, Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV (APN+)

Health Global Access Project

Human Rights Watch

Indonesia AIDS Coalition

Initiative for Social and Economic Rights


International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED)

International Youth Alliance for Peace Guarantee Limited

Jahid Hossain Khan, Grameen Development Society (GDS)

Javier Pablo Anamaria , Referente nacional Alterno de ITPC LATCA

Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA)

Judy Taguiwalo, Citizens’ Urgent Response to End COVID-19, Spokepersoj

Justice is Global

Karimi Kinoti, Interim Policy & Campaigns Director, Christian Aid

Karin Slowing Umaña, Coordinadora de Investigación LaboratorioDeDatosGT

Keikantse Phele , Keikantse Phele

KHANA/Cambodia, Executive Director

Kristine Yakhama , Africa Diabetes and Hypertension Association Kenya

Labila Sumayah Musoke, Program Officer at the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights

Lankaplus Organization

Lídice López, corresponsales Clave, Corresponsales Clave

Lois Chingandu, Acting Executive Director, Frontline AIDS


Luz Marina Umbasia, GHP Corp

Magatte MBODJ, Executive Director

Manuel Machado, Misión Salud

Marije Versteeg, Senior Global Health Advocate at Wemos

Mario Gomez, Executive Director, International Centre for Ethnic Studies,  Sri Lanka

Marium Amjad Khan, Program Manager at AwazCDS-Pakistan

Martin Drewry, CEO of Health Poverty Action

Michael Switow, Founder & Executive Committee member, ONE (SINGAPORE)

Mrs Edna Dafe , Projext Director., Women’s Board-ECS

Mtra María Angela Elías Marroquín, Universidad de El Salvador

Namusobya Salima, Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER)

National Association of Non Governmental Organisations,

National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal

National Fisheries Solidarity Movement [NAFSO]

Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Networking Community HIV and AIDS Southern Africa, Executive Director

NGO Federation Of Nepal

Nigeria Network of NGOs

NILUFAR BANU PhD, Executive Director. Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad

Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS), Admin. Officer of Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS)

Noé Ivan Flores Sosa , Asociación Hondureña Contra la Tuberculosis

Observatori DESC

Olayinka Joseph ADEBAJO, Executive Director at One Voice Initiative For Women and Children Emancipation

ONE (Singapore)

Oumar SOW, National coordinator  Gcap- Sénégal


Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum,

Partners In Health,

Pauline Muchina, American Friends Service Committee

People’s Vaccine Alliance Bangladesh

People’s Vaccine Alliance – Asia

People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa

Peter Owiti , Global Covid Community Board

Philip Kalio, Executive Director at Support Initiative for Sustainable Development (SISDEV)

Physicians for Human Rights

PODER Project on Organization, Development, Education and Research

Prof P. Vassie Naidoo, University of KwaZulu-Natal  [ People’s Vaccine Alliance, Professor from the University of KwaZulu Natal

Prof. Brook K. Baker, Northeastern U. School of Law

Prof. Dr. Jorge Bermudez, MD, DSc, Senior Researcher in Public Health, National School of Public Health/Fiocruz, Brazil

Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)

Pst. Ayotunde Okelana , Executive Director/Cleannation Foundation

Public Citizen

Public Eye

Raditya, Executive Director at Rumah Cemara

Rajesh Didiya, National TB network

Rajiv Dua, Chief Executive

Ratikant Behera, FSDCA (Foundation for Sustainable Development and Climate Action)

Raz Mohammad Dalili, Executive Advisor Sanayee Development Organization SDO

Reshma Shakya, Advocacy and Communication Officer

Rethink Trade, Director

Richard Stern , Independent

Right to Health Action, Policy team member at Right to Health Action

Rights Initiative


Roman Rafael Vega Romero, People´s Health Movement – PHM

Ronald Céspedes Barriga, Presidente de la Red Latinoamericana GayLatino

Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School

Salud por Derecho

Sarojini N, Founder, Sama Resource Group for Women and Health

Sbongile Nkosi, Co-Executive Director

SEATINI – South Africa

Serendipity Healthcare Foundation

Sharad Onta, Country Coordinator, People’s Health Movement Nepal

Shihab Quader, Head of International Projects at Yunus Centre

Shirin Syed, Research Fellow, American University Washington College of Law

Soe Naing, Executive Director, Alliance Myanmar

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication(SAAPE)

Steve Lambert, Co-founder and Co-Director at the Center for Artistic Activism


SUNFO-Peoples Vaccine campaign, Director General

Suruwat,  Executive director

Terence Dias, Admin Officer of Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS)

The Rock of Hope Eswatin

Trade Justice Education Fund

Tumukunde Initiative Rwanda

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines UK


Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group , Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group

Vanessa Japtha, Advocacy Manager

Vinayaraj V K, Dr

Wada Na Todo Abhiyan

War on Wan

Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS

Yinusa Ajenifuja Rex , Executive Director

Zia ur Rehman , AwazCDS-Pakiatan

/ Ends

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: [email protected]

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