WHO members agree to start drafting global pandemic convention

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WHO member states resolved to begin drafting a global agreement on how to prevent and deal with the next pandemic.

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The member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to draft a global agreement to prevent and deal with the next global pandemic.

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The countries adopted a resolution at a special meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, starting the process it hopes should lead to a new agreement on the pandemic.

The three-day meeting of the World Health Assembly – the decision-making body of the WHO that includes all 194 member states – was an unprecedented special session on how to tackle the next pandemic.

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The decision was welcomed by the head of the United Nations Health Agency, Tedros Ghebreyesus, who called the move historic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several flaws in the global system for protecting people from pandemics: the most vulnerable going without vaccines; Health workers without the equipment needed to perform their lifesaving work; and a ‘me-first’ approach that undermines the global solidarity needed to tackle the global threat,” Tedros said.

“But at the same time, we have seen inspiring displays of scientific and political cooperation, from the rapid development of vaccines to today’s commitment by countries negotiating a global agreement that will help protect future generations from the effects of pandemics.” will help,” he said. added.

In the meantime, countries should continue to comply with the WHO’s 2005 International Health Regulations, Tedros said.

The decision, titled The World Together, was adopted unanimously at the special assembly, with applause at the end of the three-day meeting.

“The text before us is the product of extensive discussions, frank exchanges and agreements,” said Ambassador to Australia Sally Mansfield, who co-chaired the working group.

The European Union (EU) had pushed for an agreement on an internationally legally binding treaty with around 70 countries, but Brazil, India and the United States were reluctant to the treaty, Reuters news agency reported, citing diplomats. .

“We call for an ambitious process in developing this treaty – let us all demonstrate our multilateral commitment and engagement towards a binding instrument,” Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, head of the EU delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a statement. Do it.”

The United States welcomed the decision in a statement, saying: “This important step represents our collective responsibility to advance health security and work together to make the global health system stronger and more responsive.”

Such an agreement is expected to be ready in May 2024 to strengthen measures against the pandemic, covering issues ranging from data sharing and genome sequencing of emerging viruses to equitable distribution of vaccines and drugs derived from research. Is.

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