We have just completed a very successful 4th People’s Health Assembly (PHA4), the largest to date in PHM’s history. 1400 registered participants (approximately 700 from Bangladesh and the remainder from around 73 countries) attended a total of 9 plenaries, 18 sub plenaries and 51 workshops. The discussions were vibrant and action oriented, and soon we will be releasing on the PHM website the statements, declarations and plans of actions that we collectively committed to.
All this happened despite severe disruptions to our plans and programmes, arising from the volatile situation in Bangladesh pre-elections. While the Assembly has been a huge success, the disruptions resulted in significant unanticipated expenditure, for which we are appealing for solidarity contributions to avoid these impacting on the continuation of PHM. We trust that with the support of like-minded organisations, networks and participants of the PHA, we would be able to secure adequate funds to cover this expenditure and for the immediate continuation of activities. Further details can be found below.
Initially the Bangladeshi authorities perceived the Assembly to be a threat to the elections, and tried to stop it by denying visas to many participants and announcing less than two days before the PHA was due to start, that we could not use the planned venue.
After several high level interventions, and thanks to the firm resistance of the local organising committee, continuation of the Assembly was allowed, albeit at a different and more expensive venue and with a programme reduced from 5 to 4 days. The inconveniences at the airport however continued, and overall these unpredicted disruptions impacted on the travel plans of a significant number of participants, with several being detained for lengthy periods at Dhaka airport and some being deported or cancelling their travel plans. We sincerely apologise to those who were inconvenienced due to circumstances beyond our control.
While we decided against cancelling the Assembly, the changes in venue and of many air tickets incurred additional expenditure and have significantly impacted PHM’s finances. Although the accounts are not yet finalised, the change of venue alone resulted in an additional and unexpected expenditure of 73,000 Euro.
This deficit places PHM in a very vulnerable financial position, and may threaten PHM’s continuing activities at a time when it is even more important to consolidate the plans and commitments made at the Assembly, and follow them up to strengthen our networks.
If many of us contribute, we can cover the deficit and ensure PHM’s ability to continue with its core functions that are essential for networking and coordination.