WHO: the need for a pandemic treaty and what to expect from it

The World Health Organization (WHO) approved this Wednesday, December 1, a roadmap to develop an international legal instrument that will prepare the world to face future pandemics and that will begin to be negotiated next year.

The instrument that comes out of the negotiations may be a convention or an agreement, which should contain better preparedness and response strategies by the international community in the face of new global health emergencies, following the errors that have been identified during the COVID-19 crisis. 19.

According to the calendar adopted by consensus of the 194 member states of the organization – meeting virtually in an extraordinary assembly – the new instrument should be ready and approved in 2024.

Currently, health crises such as covid-19 are managed by applying the International Health Regulations, the most recent revision of which came into force in 2007 and was negotiated after the appearance of SARS in 2003, the first disease that fully showed how the interconnectedness of the world favors the uncontrolled spread of new and re-emerging infectious diseases.

This regulation is a normative instrument of mandatory application by all the countries that make up the WHO, but whose “deficiencies” were exposed by the pandemic, said the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The roadmap approved today was presented by a group of 43 countries, led in previous negotiations by Chile and Australia.

The countries did not hesitate to consider this decision as historic and fundamental to avoid a repetition of a situation like the one that the world is experiencing with covid-19, which is having human, social and economic costs unimaginable less than two years ago.

After the approval of the document in the extraordinary assembly of the WHO, the European Union declared that it was a “triumph for multilateralism”, while Costa Rica -in an intervention in which it represented the feelings of more than 40 countries- considered that a future treaty against pandemics will strengthen solidarity and collaboration that have not been seen sufficiently in the current health crisis.

Delegates also stressed that the current pandemic could to some extent be prevented and that this has to be done when the next one looms.

Read also: Omicron variant, challenges and the situation in Guatemala: the topics Coma spoke about at the World Health Assembly

Representing Africa, Botswana took advantage of the rostrum to criticize the decision of most countries to block all the southern countries of the continent, after the first cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus had been detected in that region.

“It is a dangerous, ineffective and unsustainable measure, we ask that it be terminated and that scientific approaches be adopted,” added the delegate of Botswana. EFE


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