As 194 nations continue to work through drafts of pandemic agreements that would grant more authority to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), a body convened by the WHO, has called for a worldwide pandemic simulation to be carried out by the end of this year to test the effectiveness of the new terms before member nations sign them in 2024.
"We feel very strongly that we cannot wait for the next emergency to find out how well the pandemic accord and the IHR amendments will work; we need to know now," Joy Phumaphi, co-chair of the GPMB, stated on May 22. "We therefore suggest that Member States, together with other key stakeholders, carry out a simulation exercise based on the draft accord and draft IHR amendments later this year, before they are finalized and adopted."
International negotiations to centralize pandemic-related action within the WHO have been ongoing throughout this spring. They include a "zero draft" WHO pandemic accord and amendments to International Health Regulations (IHRs), as well as discussions among various WHO subcommittees, U.N. organizations, and finance arms like the World Bank. The current round of negotiations on the pandemic accord and IHR amendments have gone on behind closed doors in Geneva, but statements from some of the ancillary groups like the GPMB may shed light on the tone of the discussions.