Bermuda Post

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

How To Deal With The Next Pandemic? Countries To Talk On WHO Treaty

How To Deal With The Next Pandemic? Countries To Talk On WHO Treaty

Countries agreed to set up an intergovernmental body charged with drafting and negotiating a WHO accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

World Health Organization member states reached a consensus Sunday on kick-starting the process towards creating a pandemic treaty setting out how to handle the next global health crisis.

Countries agreed to set up an intergovernmental body charged with drafting and negotiating a WHO accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Nations are meeting in Geneva from Monday to Wednesday to discuss an international agreement setting out how to handle the next pandemic -- which experts fear is only a matter of time.

Sunday's draft decision should be formalised during the meeting.

The gathering comes with the planet still besieged by Covid-19, nearly two years on from the first recorded cases, and now shaken by Omicron, the new Covid variant of concern.

The economic turmoil and millions of lives lost in the pandemic triggered calls for new international defences strong enough to prevent a repeat disaster.

The three-page draft decision was posted on the WHO's website.

"WHO member states today informally agreed to start negotiations on a pandemic treaty. Now the resolution needs to be formally adopted tomorrow by world leaders," the European Union's diplomatic mission in Geneva said.

"The events of the last weeks demonstrate more than ever the need for global solidarity and leadership. We look forward to world leaders demonstrating their joint commitment tomorrow. The momentum is there -- the planet must be better prepared."

Shadow of Omicron

This week's meeting of the World Health Assembly -- the WHO's decision-making body comprising all 194 member states -- is an unprecedented special session on how to handle the next pandemic.

The final outcome -- whether a treaty or another formulation -- should be sealed in 2024.

The special session is going ahead, despite travel restrictions relating to the discovery of Omicron.

The World Trade Organization's four-day ministerial conference in Geneva next week was postponed due to the new variant of concern.

A European diplomat told AFP that the emergence of Omicron had sharpened minds.

"It shows this is far from over, and we really need the world to get together on this," he said.

"It shows how it important it is that we come up with legal obligations towards each other to share information."

The draft decision says WHO member states agree to establish "an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB)... to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response".

The INB's first meeting must be no later than March 1 next year to elect two co-chairs and four vice-chairs.

Under their facilitation, the INB will then start to "identify the substantive elements of the instrument", and draw up a working draft by August 1.

Comma compromise

A progress report will be presented at the regular World Health Assembly annual gathering in 2023, with the final outcome presented for consideration at the 2024 WHA.

The United States -- uneasy about committing early to a treaty -- was wrangling over the placing of commas and their implications for how the outcome might be adopted, but agreed to compromise.

British ambassador Simon Manley said the decision "may only be the end of the beginning, but the flexibility shown and the breadth of support is a good portent for the vital efforts to come".

The text acknowledged the need to address the "development and distribution of, and unhindered, timely and equitable access to, medical countermeasures such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics".

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has regularly hit out at the chasm between rich and poor countries' access to jabs, tests, treatments and protective equipment for tackling Covid-19.


Related Articles

Bermuda Post
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Nashville police officer, and a female driver shooting one another
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Mexican President Claims Mexico is Safer than the U.S.
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
'No relation to the American SVB': India's SVC Bank acts to calm depositors amid brand name confusion.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
A primitive judge in Australia sparked outrage when he told a breastfeeding woman to leave his courtroom for being “a distraction"
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Old clip of Bill Gates saying Ukraine is a big, fat, corrupt sinkhole is going viral
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
How do stolen goods end up on Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace?
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Don Lemon, a CNN anchor, has provided a list of five areas that he believes the black community needs to address.
Hello. Here is our news digest from London.
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Givenchy Store in New York Robbed of $50,000 in Merchandise
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
White House: No ETs over the United States
U.S. Jet Shoots Down Flying Object Over Canada
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…