Southern Africa: SADC MPs Demand Action On Vaccine Intellectual Property Rights

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The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the need to address issues related to intellectual property and human rights, as well as for taking steps to benefit from trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights flexibilities to ensure access to medicines for all.

As least developed countries (LDCs) join the rest of the world in rolling out Covid-19 vaccines, there are concerns over access, transparency, equity and human rights violations. Against this backdrop, Southern African Development Community (SADC) members of parliament are calling for all hands on board to build the region's capacity to produce medicines and to ensure that citizens benefit from its vast medicinal plant resources.

A virtual joint session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum's standing committees and the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus, held on 15 April, called on SADC member states to harness the "flexibilities afforded by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips), to respond to their various communicable and non-communicable disease public health concerns".

Their call followed advocacy presentations by the Aids and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (Arasa) and Southern African Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (Sapam).

South African MP Darren Bergman, speaking on behalf of the chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary...

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