WHO fails to draft pandemic treaty by deadline

The World Health Organization failed to draft a treaty to drive the global response to a potential future pandemic,  but that doesn’t mean it won’t try again.

Critics say the “world’s first pandemic accord” would have given the WHO authority to direct the public health responses of its 194 member nations, including Canada. Still, all members could not agree on a draft of the agreement.

According to the WHO, the draft treaty operated on the basis that “nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon.” After nine meetings spanning more than two years with various renditions of the accord, the participants in the intergovernmental negotiating body could not agree on every item presented in the treaty draft, effectively killing the agreement as countries convene for this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The WHO said the international pandemic agreement was to “prevent a repeat of the global health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” and to ensure “future generations are safeguarded from the threat of inevitable future pandemics.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the defeat, which he was hesitant to call a failure. 

“We will try everything believing that anything is possible and make this happen because the world still needs a pandemic treaty and the world needs to be prepared because many of the challenges that caused serious impact during COVID-19 still exist,” Ghebreyesus said, addressing his organization. “Failure doesn’t stop us, and it should not stop us, but this is not failure. You have really done a lot, and you have progressed a lot. I don’t call it failure.”

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis has fought against Canada’s involvement in the treaty since May of 2022.  She warned that if Canada ratified the treaty, it would be signing its sovereignty away to an international body that Canadians did not elect.

“Common sense Conservatives believe that only Canada’s elected governments should set policy and direction on what is best for Canada. We will continue to listen to Canadians’ concerns about the proposal,” Lewis said in an email to True North.

“Conservatives believe that no international agreement should undermine national sovereignty or be used to infringe upon the Charter-protected rights and freedoms of Canadians,” she said. “We will oppose any international bureaucracy that undermines the ability of the elected representatives of Canadians to make laws or to direct our own health care response.”

On Lewis’ website, she shared a longer list of her objections to the pandemic treaty.

“It also does not make sense for this government to sign onto a legally binding treaty governing future pandemic response when Canada still has not had a national inquiry into our pandemic policies and outcomes,” she said.“As proposed, a legally binding treaty would see power given to the WHO to direct the global health management of pandemics.”

She warned that the treaty would have defined and classified what would be considered a pandemic.

“Once a pandemic is declared, the WHO would require countries to adopt specific response measures,” Lewis said.One area on which the negotiating body failed to agree was the recognition of  “the sovereign right of States…to legislate and to implement legislation, within their jurisdiction.”

They all agreed that the signing nations “shall promote a One Health approach” for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response but could not agree that this would be voluntary.

They also disagreed on preventing nations from disrupting medical supply routes to affected countries and “encouraging” medical manufacturers to seek regulatory approval from the WHO for all products.

However, they all agreed to recognize the WHO as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work, including pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. 

Ghebreyesus indicated that the WHO would try again, asserting a pandemic treaty as critical for the world’s response to future inevitable pandemics.

Story imported via RSS from True North News
RSS Article Source: https://tnc.news/2024/05/30/who-fails-to-draft-pandemic-treaty/

True North is a Canadian digital media platform that seeks to provide Canadians with fair, accurate, truthful and fact-based news reports, analysis, investigative reports, podcasts, interviews and documentaries. Support alternative news and investigative reporting by supporting True North News at : https://www.tnc.news

Leave a Reply