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WHO member states commit to producing a pandemic accord in 2023

The ‘zero draft’ will be a legally binding agreement, part of the WHO Constitution


In a summit held by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 7 December, WHO member states were united in an agreement to develop and produce the first draft of a pledge created to protect the world from future pandemics.

The legally binding ‘zero draft’ of the pandemic accord is entrenched in the WHO Constitution and the member states plan to reconvene for discussion in February 2023.

The agreement by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), involving WHO’s 194 member states, marked a significant moment in the global process in learning from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also served as an important milestone in recognising how the global community can prevent a repeat of the lasting impacts COVID-19 has had on people worldwide.

The INB gathered at the WHO headquarters in Geneva from 5 to 7 December for its third meeting since its launch in December 2021, after a special session of the World Health Assembly.

As part of its discussions on 7 December, the INB’s Bureau agreed to develop the zero draft of the pandemic accord as a starting point for negotiations at the fourth INB meeting in early 2023.

Roland Driece, co-chair of the INB Bureau, said: “Countries have delivered a clear message that the world must be better prepared, coordinated and supported to protect all people, everywhere, from a repeat of COVID-19.

“The decision to task us with the duty to develop a zero draft of a pandemic accord represents a major milestone in the path towards making the world safer.”

The WHO pandemic accord is being considered with a view to its adoption under Article 19 of the WHO Constitution, without prejudice to also considering, as work progresses, the suitability of Article 21.

INB Bureau co-chair, Precious Matsoso, said that any future pandemic accord would need to carefully consider equity, reinforce preparedness, ensure solidarity, promote a mutually supportive societal and govermental approach, while respecting the sovereignty of countries.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human lives, economies and societies at large must never be forgotten,” said Matsoso.

She added: “The best chance we have, as a global community, to prevent a repeat of the past is to come together, in the spirit of solidarity, in a commitment to equity and in the pursuit of health for all, and develop a global accord that safeguards societies from future pandemic threats.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

12th December 2022

From: Healthcare



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