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Member States continue work on potential pandemic accord


Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) continued their discussions towards a global accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with a view to presenting the outcome of their work to the World Health Assembly in May 2024.

The Bureau’s text of the WHO CA+ was discussed 17-21 July during the sixth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate an international instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This document was prepared by the Bureau of the INB following the fifth meeting of the INB based on all inputs provided by Member States, and it was distributed to all Member States and published on the WHO website in May/June 2023.

The sixth meeting opened with briefings by the co-facilitators of the intersessional informal meetings of the Drafting Group on Article 9 of the Bureau’s text (Research and development) led by Mexico and Norway, Article 12 (Access and benefit-sharing) led by Australia and Ethiopia and Article 13 (Supply chain and logistics) led by Indonesia and Pakistan, which conducted in-depth consultations with Member States on the sidelines of and after the resumed session of the fifth meeting of the INB.

At the Sixth Meeting, the Drafting Group discussed the remaining articles of the document.

The INB agreed to continue intersessional informal meetings on Articles 9, 12 and 13 for Drafting Group participants, including during the next meeting of the INB Drafting Group (4-6 September 2023). In addition, the INB decided that Articles 4 and 5 – to be jointly co-facilitated by India, United Republic of Tanzania and the United Kingdom and Article 11 – to be co-facilitated by Colombia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia - should be discussed further in informal meetings.

The INB also elected Ambassador Kozo Honsei of Japan as the INB Vice Chair from the Western Pacific Region, to replace Mr Kazuho Taguchi of Japan.

Co-Chair Precious Matsoso said: “We have a window of opportunity between now and the beginning of next year to make progress, the clock is ticking. It will take more work from all of us to reach the next step, i.e. to produce a negotiating text. To reach this, I encourage Member States to continue to engage during the intersessional period. We will leave no stone unturned to propel this process forward”.

Co-Chair Roland Driece said: “I would like to convey the sincere appreciation of the INB Bureau, and my personal appreciation, for the hard work of the co-facilitators, and all Member States who are committing additional time and energy to the informals. We have reached a critical juncture where we need to narrow the gaps between the ways we look at some of the key issues, and it will take our collective efforts to take the next steps.”

Mr Taguchi, the outgoing INB Bureau Member from the WPRO Region, added, “I am honoured to have served as Vice Chair and would like to thank the Member States and all for their support. This accord could save millions of human beings from future pandemics and protect their health. Key issues are being discussed intensely and I highly appreciate the willingness of the Member States in the conference room to find solutions.”

In addition, the first joint plenary meeting of the INB and the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR)  was held on the afternoon of 21 July and morning of 24 July, and was publicly webcast. Invited participants included Member States, Associate Members, regional economic integration organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

At this joint meeting, the WHO Director-General thanked participants for their commitment to these historic and vital processes, and underscored the importance of this work to bring the world together and safe. Participants were invited to exchange views on the relationship between the two processes and instruments, and key definitions, including in relation to a public health emergency of international concern and a pandemic. They also discussed topics of common interest to the INB and the WGIHR and provided views on how to move further towards coherence and complementarity between the two instruments.

The INB and WGIHR Bureaux will prepare a summary of the main outcomes of the discussion during the joint meeting, which will be circulated to all Member States. 

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