During the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO ambassadors debate and negotiate on behalf of their country or region’s interests and position, but they are not the only players in the WHO decision-making process. Further complicating this process are the conflicting interests of non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) aiming to direct the resolution towards their mission statement, pharmaceutical companies trying to maximise medication sales, and the press leaking news and taking a stand on them.
Responsible for facilitating and creating an overview of the decision-making process are vice-chairs and secretaries, whose roles will also be assigned by participants.
When you register for CamWHO 2021, you will be asked to prioritise the roles you would prefer to have assigned during the conference.
Member state ambassador
As the ambassador of a country, you will represent and act on behalf of the interests of a UN member state. Through the attendance of regional meetings with delegates from member states located in the same region and plenaries with representatives from other countries, it is your job to ensure that your country’s interests are heard and implemented in the final resolution.
As the representative of an NGO, it is your job to lobby towards the public awareness and accomplishment of your interests and make sure that they make it into the final resolution. This role will be likely to make you discover the art and power of advocacy and persuasion.
Pharmaceutical company representative
Assuming the role of a larger pharmaceutical company, you will become familiar with their point of view and its different aspects, and it is your job to make them appear in the implemented policies. For example, you will likely be confronted with prejudices that people have against pharmaceuticals, which will require you to make your case even more convincing.
Member of the press
Working with the press, e.g. as a journalist, you will cover the news on global health issues and angle them to highlight a particular position on current events; confront, questioning or stimulating interests from delegates; influencing public opinion. Furthermore, you will also be in charge of the daily press conference, where you will interview WHO ambassadors from different regions.
The chairs and vice-chairs are responsible for the regional meetings and plenaries to run smoothly and efficiently. The chairs facilitate the discussion and decision-making processes during regional blocks and plenaries and manage the speaker’s list. The vice-chair will keep track of the agenda, help out the chair with uncertainties, take notes, take the chair’s position in some situations (e.g. if the chair is not present), watch the time and make sure that everyone is heard and the procedure is followed correctly.
The secretary is responsible for the written work of the regional meetings and plenaries. It is of crucial importance to the negotiation process that the documents are properly written and put into the correct format. Thus the role of the secretaries is vital to the success of CamWHO. During the meetings, all proposals and decisions will have to be written down. After each session, you will gather all the recommendations and form them into a draft resolution, which will serve as the basis for negotiation and be voted upon during the following session.