Members of the World Health Organization agree to extend talks on the Pandemic Convention

Written By Mark

Member states of the World Health Organization agreed on Saturday to extend talks on the pandemic convention for another year, allowing more time to finalize the landmark treaty to combat future pandemics and enhance preparedness.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body, established in December 2021 to draft the agreement and guide the negotiation process, will continue its mandate to deliver the agreement by the time of the next World Health Assembly in 2025, or earlier if possible, at a special session of the Health Assembly in 2024.

“There is clear agreement among all member states on the need for another instrument to better help the world combat raging pandemics,” said Precious Matsuso, co-chair of the body, in a statement.

This year, the World Health Assembly also approved a set of amendments to another international instrument, the International Health Regulations (2005), providing a definition of a pandemic emergency with a view to stimulating more effective international cooperation in responding to any potential pandemic.

Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that these amendments will enhance the ability of countries to detect future outbreaks of pandemics and epidemics and respond to them by strengthening the national capabilities of these countries and enhancing coordination among member states regarding monitoring diseases, exchanging information about them, and responding to them.

“Today’s strengthening of the International Health Regulations provides tremendous momentum for completing the Pandemic Convention, which, once completed, can help prevent a recurrence of the devastation to health, societies and economies caused by COVID-19,” he added.