As they met in Geneva, members of the World Health Organization (WHO), agreed to establish an international treaty that will govern future pandemic response and prevention.
The draft resolution that kick-started the process of the treaty was reached during negotiations over the weekend. It is expected to be finalized at a three day members meeting, which will begin Monday in Geneva.
Once the resolution is formalized it will open up the possibility of establishing an intergovernmental organization that would be responsible for negotiating and writing the agreement. It could be completed by May 2024. This agreement will focus on response, prevention and preparedness for pandemics.
The conference will cover topics such as sharing information on the genome sequences of emerging viruses and any possible vaccines or drugs that may result from this research.
“Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated fundamental weaknesses in the global architecture for pandemic preparedness and response,” WHO director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told the World Health Assembly – the WHO’s decision-making body consisting of all 194 member states – on Monday.
“Voluntary mechanisms have not solved these challenges,”He added that “a legally binding agreement between nations”It would be “the best way”To address pandemics such as the Covid-19 crisis.
It’s not perfect, and it’s not a panacea. It takes compromise – no one gets everything they want – but that’s better than so many missing out on what they need.
A WHO director general expressed the hope that the new accord could provide this opportunity. “better governance”And “better financing”Global health security
Two groups of WHO members reached a deal that will result in the upcoming decision. While the UK and the EU argued for a legally binding treaty, the USA, Brazil, India, among other countries, were not supportive. A European diplomat confirmed to Reuters that they had reached a compromise.