Parallel Session 3.5

Making Global Trade Policies Work for UHC

1 February 2020

15:30 - 17:30 hrs.

Background :

Global trends in trade policies is currently a hot political issue across the world and becoming an ever more important ‘megatrend’ of relevance to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. The changing landscape of global, regional, and bilateral trade agreements and practices has important implications for achieving SDG3 in enabling, or limiting, governments’ strategies to pursue policy coherence, financing and good governance of the health services, and ensuring access to affordable medicines. 

Current global politics of looming trade wars and sanctions against some counties can have a profound impact on the supply of life saving health commodities. This is a sensitive topic indeed. But it must be openly and candidly discussed as a challenge to the achievement of UHC in countries around the world.

This session will provide an overview of key trade policy issues and experiences that are relevant for all countries in their efforts to achieve or maintain UHC. It will focus on case studies on risks and opportunities for health promotion – including regulating health-harming industries and practices – and trade in health commodities of direct relevance to UHC. It will then focus on strategies for promoting innovation and access to affordable and quality medicines and other health products and technologies for all countries and people, in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda of Leaving No One Behind.

Objectives :

The objective of this session is to spotlight the opportunities and challenges of recent trends in trade policies and practices on countries’ efforts to achieve or maintain UHC; to increase visibility about the risk and benefits involved, share lessons learnt, and to discuss concrete actions that must be taken in the interest of the lives of people.