MeTA is not a funding mechanism, but a programme that strongly advocates creating the conditions for multi-stakeholder processes, coordinates action, and collects and synthesises knowledge that enables social learning to resolve issues on medicines collectively.

One of MeTA’s key elements is to use a multi-stakeholder approach. This important principle recognises that complex issues such as the supply of effective, affordable medicines involve many different interest groups and individuals who see problems and solutions only from their own perspective. The resulting clash of interests often leads to the emergence of a dominant group, which imposes its favoured policy.

But there is another way: the various stakeholders can agree to work together on an equitable basis, recognising the validity of others’ interests, sharing information and views. A “neutral space” in which to work is created, a shared understanding of the problems, common ways of working and an agreed agenda among everyone taking part.In MeTA’s case, this means establishing a forum for representatives of everyone involved in the medicines supply chain – manufacturers, governments, international organisations, traders, medical workers, academics, the media, and patients.

Since all have a voice, all their positions and all the information on which their policies and practices are based get a hearing. Participants can also encourage disclosure of information about the quality, availability, pricing and promotion of essential medicines, and discussion and analysis of this information. Peer pressure and a group commitment help participants to sustain their efforts and deliver results across public, private and non-profit sectors.

The outcome: better decisions.

The multi-stakeholder approach goes beyond just talking about problems. MeTA’s aim is to generate innovative solutions to the tough problems of supplying the right medicines to poor people, at the right price, of the right quality, in a timely and accessible manner.

MeTA is one of three multi-stakeholder initiatives supported by the UK Department for International Development which involve government, the private sector and civil society in addressing issues of governance, transparency and accountability. The other two are the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST).

Related Information:

Challenges for change: An article by Andrew Chetley, Communication and Capacity Strengthening Director for MeTA, on civil society parcticipation in MeTA

A checklist for Multi-stakeholder Process (MSP) designers

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