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The COPAAH Global Symposium is woven around the issues of Citizenship, Governance and Accountability in relation to the lives and life-conditions of the marginalized communities. The thematic sessions around the five key themes and the inter-thematic sessions around the intersecting themes and issues, form the fulcrum of such debates and discussions and exchange. Such a dialogue that is designed to happen between various stakeholders intrinsic to the social accountability processes through the course of the symposium, both in formal and informal spaces. The formal spaces, especially through the thematic and inter-thematic spaces, will facilitate a meaningful dialogue between grassroots accountability practitioners, community centered accountability advocates (at the sub-national, national and international level) interfacing with public policy spaces, academia, and those engaged with policy making.

A snapshot of these sessions is outlined below. A detailed note on each one of the following will be available soon.

Thematic Churnings:
Oct. 16, 17 & 18, 2019 [12.00 – 13.30 hours]

Theme 1: Community action in governance and accountability for health systems strengthening
This theme seeks to centre-stage the transformative potential of the power of communities and positions taken by communities and civil society at large as central to governance and accountability of health systems (both public and private). There will be three sessions to address this theme-

  • Setting the Stage: Locating Community Action within an Accountability Framework
  • From Principles to Social Accountability Practices.
  • Rethinking Strategies for Social Accountability

Theme 2: Improving access to quality health services for the indigenous, excluded, vulnerable communities and those in fragile contexts
This theme will present efforts carried out by civil society to demand accountability of both the dominant society and the government authorities to respect, promote and protect the rights of indigenous, vulnerable and disadvantage populations. There will be three sessions to address this theme-
  • Current practices: Using participatory techniques
  • Cross-cutting issues affecting indigenous people
  • Strategising for the short and midterm accountability processes

Theme 3: Moving forward the agenda for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights
Through this theme the symposium will showcase community-led approaches to social accountability and action that negotiate politics of SRHR and focus on enhancing the autonomy and capabilities of girls, women and other marginalized people within communities. There will be three sessions to address this theme-
  • Dismantling social hierarchies through SRHR Accountability work- working with vulnerable and socially excluded communities
  • Global actors and their impact on SRH accountability- Negotiating the power of donors, Global Health Initiatives and Global Accountability Mechanisms
  • Critical engagement with the State on SRH rights- pushing the boundaries of current practice

Theme 4: Setting the framework and agenda for people centered accountability of private and corporate health care sectors
This theme will facilitate critical analysis of existing regulation for private sector and focus on accountability and citizen participation in concerned regulatory frameworks. It will promote a discourse on protecting patient's rights, and assuring good quality, rational and ethical healthcare. There will be three sessions to address this theme-
  • Setting the Context: Changing Nature of the private medical sector- An overview of the emerging trends of commercialization & corporatization with its implications on people's health.
  • Actions for Patients' Rights: Documentation of violations of Patients' Rights and Advocacy for Patient Rights Charters and Campaigns
  • Strategy Planning: Case studies of strategies used to promote social accountability and socially responsive regulation of the private health sector.

Theme 5: Forging alliances between the community and the health care workers
This theme will enable and provide a platform for health care workers to amplify their voice and to share their experiences in the provision of quality health services, governance and accountability of the health systems. There will be three sessions to address this theme-
  • Locating health care workers: Interface of health system and community.
  • Stories of change: Experiences of strengthening accountability
  • Way forward: Strategic approaches to accountability

Oct. 16 & 17, 2019 [14.30 – 16.00 hours]

16th October 2019, Wednesday
1. Africa-Asian Dialogue
This is organized as part of ushering in a dialogue between the accountability practitioners from African settings and those coming from the Asian contexts. In both these contexts, even within the political democracies, it is seen that the elected governments are by and large swayed by the influence of neo-liberal economic policies, privileging the for-profit corporate sector over the interests of public good of the people. It is also witnessed that the spaces for accountability are shrinking. However, health rights advocates and accountability practitioners are navigating through the maze of challenges. This session will bring together exchange of such experiences in order to build stronger southern solidarity.

2. Understanding the intersection of health, accountability and public finance from a citizen's perspective
This session (first of two on public finance and health provision), will explore the ways in which public finances and public health systems connect. The session will focus on how to understand potential obstacles to achieving public resources for health, and the emerging opportunities for citizen and community action.

3. Accountability for health rights of persons with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions
This session will examine the health needs of persons with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities beyond traditional frameworks, and the strategies that grassroots rights defenders have used to realize health rights within constrained social, legal and political contexts. it will examine complex challenges related to criminalization, discrimination and violence that they face.

4. Social Determinants of Health & Political Economy of Health
This session on political economy of health will dwell upon the changing structural determinants, often expressed through the articulation of written or unwritten policies at the national and global levels. The structural determinants are various the socio-cultural and political structures that influence most of the health outcomes of the marginalized populations.

5. Politics of Knowledge, Indigenous communities and practices
This session will closely interrogate on the hegemony of knowledge and its ramifications to community/people's health by understanding various community knowledge systems. The discussion will focus on pathways to deconstruct and reconstruct health knowledge and re-position community's knowledge systems and practices

6. Closing Civic Spaces & Accountability
This session intends to recognize the closing civic space that pose a major challenge to accountability and to discuss on a larger accountability eco-system that includes a fair space for civil society to negotiate with the political and state power at different stages. It would explore various pathways to reclaim this space since governments and public systems must be accountable to communities to provide complete citizenship.

17th October 2019, Thursday
1. Social Determinants of Health and Accountability Citizen Participation for Social Accountability & System Strengthening for Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
This session would address issues of citizens' participation and transparency with enhanced state-citizen interactions that help in strengthening accountability and governance for access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Participants will share experience from Asia and facilitate discussions to broaden understanding on various approaches, tools of social accountability and its scope and limitations.

2. Citizen action on public finance and accountability for inclusive health
This session on public finance and health will explore how do we ensure public resources are being used to provide inclusive health care by drawing on the experiences of community practitioners. The session also explores strategies that can be effective in engaging public finance and health care systems.

3. For-profit actors, global governance and accountability in health
This session would discuss on the global drivers of ill-health along with dysfunctional global governance and the power asymmetry between the global actors and people and many a time even nation states that perpetuate health inequities. While gathering experiences of social accountability advocates from various countries, 'global political determinants' would be critically examined.

4. Accountability for SRHR: challenging the status quo
This session will address gaps between these ambitious SRHR rights frameworks and the constrained socio-political lived realities within which these frameworks are implemented. This will be done by reviewing the evidence on the dynamics and concerns related to operationalizing accountability in the context of SRHR.

5. Asking the right questions - Research and Social Accountability
This session will explore how the research field can do things differently, especially understanding how communities can meaningfully participate in governance processes through the rubric of 'social accountability' and improve the design, implementation and delivery of development interventions.

6. Funding and other resources for social accountability: Re-examining priorities
This session will examine how 'funders' and other supporters of 'development' interventions see how 'accountability', 'participation' and the concern for equity and effectiveness of 'projects' need to be supported. Discussions around examining funding priorities and challenges that might emerge would also be apart of this session.