Daily Brief logo

Hello, this is Paula. Nearly three years after the Taliban returned to Kabul, relief organisations have struggled to get much-needed assistance to Afghanistan. Even as the country now endures massive flooding that has taken the lives of at least 315 people and destroyed thousands of homes, donors are split over whether to engage with the fundamentalist regime.

At Wipo, countries will be trying to finalise a draft of a treaty that would shield genetic resources and Indigenous knowledge from piracy, while Cern’s director general Fabiola Gianotti will be honoured for her contributions towards boosting international Geneva’s image.

photo journaliste

Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

Photo article

Afghan refugees deported from Pakistan received food aid from the Afghan Red Crescent Society in Kandahar, 23 January 2024. (Keystone/AFP/Sanaullah Seiam)

To aid or not to aid: behind Afghanistan’s divided relief frontlines. Since the Taliban’s takeover in 2021, shrinking international assistance to Afghanistan has been challenged by bans on Afghan women aid workers, donors shifting their attention toward other crises and the heated question of engagement with the Taliban. Divisions and mistrust between aid groups in and outside the country have added to the test.

Geneva Solutions

What to watch this week

🌺CREDIT OVERDUE. Over the next two weeks, some 1,200 people will flock to Geneva as countries at Wipo attempt to finalise an agreement that would tackle biopiracy, which is when companies use genetic resources and traditional knowledge to develop medicines, cosmetics, seeds, biotechnology and other products and claim exclusive rights to their not-so-new inventions.

Tip of the hat. The treaty would require patent filers to disclose when they use these communities' ancestral wisdom but stops short of requiring any sort of compensation mechanism. While the gesture is largely symbolic, it would be the first intellectual property treaty to address the concerns of biodiversity-rich developing countries and indigenous peoples.

📖Read more: A new multilateral treaty takes root at WIPO to recognise traditional knowledge

➡️SOLDIERING ON. Failing to agree on a draft of the pandemic treaty by Friday’s deadline, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said talks will continue till the opening of the World Health Assembly on 27 May, “to further define” the text.

Longshot. The timeline set in December 2021 to have a draft pandemics preparedness and response accord ready by now always appeared optimistic.

Talks have seen divisions that surfaced during Covid-19 between hard-hit developing countries and vaccine-producing nations become further entrenched. Stumbling points still remain in talks over pathogen access, intellectual property and the one health approach recognising that the wellbeing of humans, animals and environment are interlinked.

What next? Precious Matsoso, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) said that while it wasn’t “a simple exercise”, “getting this done means getting it right”. If an agreed draft fails to materialise. the INB will report on progress at the WHA. But an extended WHA or a special session later in the year are other options.

Also on the agenda

Join us this week!

Photo article

Behind the UN liquidity crunch, a multilateral system in crisis? The United Nations has been facing its worst liquidity crunch, forcing it to adopt several aggressive cost-saving measures. We'll be joined by Michael Møller, former director general at the UN in Geneva, and Maya Ungar, UN analyst at the International Crisis Group, to discuss our latest reporting on the UN’s money woes and the wider implications for the multilateral system. Register to attend in person on 15 May at 5 pm at the Domaine de Penthes, where an apéritif will follow the event, or to participate online.

Geneva Solutions & Geneva Press Club (EN)

GS news is a new media project covering the world of international cooperation and development. Don’t hesitate to forward our newsletter!

Have a good day!

Avenue du Bouchet 2
1209 Genève