WIDE+ initiated a Public Letter to the European Commission to ask for support waiver in WTO for the prevention, containment & treatment of COVID-19

As feminist groups in partnership with many other civil society networks, we have urgently requested support for the unconditional adoption of the proposed “Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19,” (Waiver Proposal) which is critical  for governments to ramp up production and make prevention and treatment options available and accessible to all. This will mitigate women and gender non-conforming people being forced to give up access to this health care and bear a disproportionate burden of this pandemic.

WIDE+, its member associations and other civil society networks and associations asked Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for the European Commission on the role of ‘an Economy that works for People’, including trade policy for supporting this waiver towards upcoming negotiations in the WTO.

Download the letter: WIDE+ Demand-a-TRIPS-Waiver-for-COVID-19 18 Nov 2020

It is evident that open access to a range of medical products is critical to meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries, particularly in the global South, are facing a severe shortage of products such as diagnostic kits, masks, and personal protective equipment. Ventilators are in short supply and most medicine options have so far been very expensive. Given the relative lack of power of women and gender non-conforming people economically, socially, and politically, including on the basis of race, caste, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, migratory status, whenever there is limited supply of essential products, including critical medical products, they face the greatest barriers to access. If medical diagnostics, treatment, and care are expensive, women and gender non-conforming people often give up use, voluntarily or involuntarily, in order to save household resources and ensure supply for the male members.

Considering the economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, any constraints on access to medical products, will translate into a severe and prohibitive constraint for women and gender non-conforming people. And in today’s globalized world, if the pandemic is not controlled everywhere at the same time, including in low and middle income countries, humanity will revolve in circles and outbreaks of contagion will flare up again and again, which could escalate into a pandemic again.

Undersigned are:
Action Aid International
Seattle to Brussels network, Europe
Kvinna till Kvinna, Sweden
Bretton Woods Project, United Kingdom

Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+), Europe, including WIDE+ members:Gender Alliance for Development Centre (GADC), Albania
Center for Sustainable Communities Development, Bulgaria
WIDE Switzerland,

GADIP, Sweden
WO=MEN, the Dutch Gender Platform
K.U.L.U Women and Development, Denmark

This letter is also sent to other governments by the Gender and Trade Coalition and Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development in collaboration with Third World Network, undersigned by more than 50 feminist associations and networks worldwide. And similar letters are sent by other associations thanks to the information gathered by Medicenes sans Frontieres.

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