“Participation provides the opportunity for people living in poverty to be active agents in their own destiny” – Magdalena Sepulveda, Former UN Special Rapporteur
Meaningful participation is a key principle of human rights, explicitly stated in the Right to Development and other UN resolutions. Participatory rights are also enshrined in international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
However, the folks most impacted by policies on health and well-being made by UN agencies seem to be excluded from participating in decisions that directly affect them. Over the years, the IMAXI Cooperative has collected dozens of testimonies and observations from health activists around the world, and with a few notable exceptions, it appears that the key institutions in global health do not allow the meaningful participation of those most affected in their policy-making. If this general exclusion of the ‘community’ is substantiated, it signifies a clear failure of the UN to fulfil their agreed joint-obligations (UN Common Understanding 2003) and erects a huge barrier for efforts to achieve the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN slogan of “Leave No On Behind” can not happen without the participation of those already left out and excluded.
“What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done” – Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, WHO
‘All Aboard’ is a two step research and development project that will first assess the state of community participation in decision-making bodies within key institutions in global health, including the United Nations agencies (WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women) and two major foundations, the Global Fund and Gates, and secondly, to apply this knowledge to the programmatic advance of meaningful participation and accountable representation. First the scientific research, then the evidence-based development.
We have gathered together a brilliant group of almost twenty activists, academics and public health officials and have begun to conduct a methodological, scientifically robust study. The findings of this collaborative research will be published in the autumn of 2017 in Global Health Governance, the “Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm”. The Abstract, which has been accepted, can be seen here.
As the time before the submission deadline is short (the first of June), and the research plan is comprehensive, we seek support through a progressive crowd-funding platform, GivenGain.org, to better conduct this study. We need to cover the communication/transport costs of a small team of community investigators / researchers in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and for a part-time academic research coordinator to assure the scientific virtue of the study and the quality of the paper to be published.
This is the IMAXI Cooperative’s first attempt at fundraising. After seven years of self-financed activism, the support of folks that value the principle of participation is essential for this important research project on a key global health governance issue. We ask our comrades, colleagues and kindred spirits everywhere to lend a hand, and donate to this very good cause. Warm thanks in advance.