The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Bern by Ambassador Corinne Cicéron Bühler, head of the Directorate of International Law (DIL) at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Federal Council, and Mr Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the GARDP. The conclusion of the agreement was approved by the Federal Council at its meeting on 24 February 2021. The Host State Act is the legal basis for the agreement.
The GARDP was established in Geneva in 2018 as a foundation under Swiss law. Founded by the WHO and DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative), the GARDP plays a key role in combating one of the major threats to global health: antibiotic resistance. The GARDP develops new treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections and works in partnership with the WHO, governments, universities and the private sector to ensure sustainable access to these treatments. It is an important actor in the WHO's international public health strategy.
This agreement on privileges and immunities secures the GARDP's long-term presence in Geneva, reinforces the city's position as a public-health hub and – crucially – facilitates collaboration among the various stakeholders in the field of public health. It is in keeping with Switzerland's foreign policy on health for the period 2019–24, according to which Switzerland is committed to combating the growing resistance to antibiotics. In the words of the head of the DIL, "The current pandemic has made us aware of the importance of preventing health crises. By signing this agreement, Switzerland is also strengthening its international engagement in the field of health protection and disease prevention."
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