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IPFS News Link • Who-World Health Organization

WHO Pandemic Agreement April Draft: Additional Concerns

• Brownstone Institute - David Bell

The World Health Organization (WHO) negotiating body of the draft Pandemic Agreement to be voted on in late May produced yet another draft. As the previous text was dealt with in detail in a recent article, it seems relevant to provide a brief summary of the additional changes. As before, the document becomes vaguer but adds more activities to be funded, reinforcing the concerns that this process is being rushed without due review.

Since December 2021, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) has been embarking on this project under the WHO Constitution in order to set a global framework for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. It has already failed its own deliverable timeline to reach a consensus text by 29 March 2024 (document A/INB/3/4). That two-month period was not a legal requirement per se, but intended to give the 194 WHO Member States some time to review the final text against their domestic legal architecture as well as other international obligations from other treaties to which they are parties. It was scrapped without explanation, demonstrating a far-from-achieved consensus within the INB. However, the WHO still plans to have the vote on the provisional agenda of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) starting on 27 May. 

The latest draft, proposed by the INB Bureau (comprised of representatives from Brazil, Egypt, Japan, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Thailand being co-chairs, aided by 6 WHO officers from 6 regional offices), dated 22 April 2024, was submitted for negotiations at the 9th INB meeting from 29 April to 10 May. As usual, the Bureau streamlines and consolidates the text previously achieved thanks to various groups tasked to reach consensus under thorny articles. This meeting has just concluded in Geneva without reaching the final text.