May 21, 2024
Health

Global Governments Unite On Pandemic Agreement

Ahead Of 77th World Health Assembly

As the world grapples with the ongoing repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have united to advance a proposed pandemic agreement.

With the 77th World Health Assembly on the horizon, slated to commence on May 27, 2024, nations convened at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva on May 10, 2024, to renew their commitment to shaping a comprehensive response to future global health crises.

Amidst hybrid and in-person discussions, governments pledged to intensify efforts to refine the draft pandemic agreement over the forthcoming weeks.

Key focal points include establishing a new global framework for pathogen access and benefits sharing, bolstering pandemic prevention strategies through a One Health approach, and enhancing financial coordination to strengthen countries’ readiness to combat pandemics.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, lauded the unwavering dedication exhibited by Member States throughout more than two years of deliberations.

“WHO’s Member States have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to crafting a landmark agreement aimed at shielding the world from the catastrophic impacts witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic,” remarked Dr Tedros.

“The resolute determination displayed by all nations to press forward underscores the significance of the mission at hand.”

Pivotal Role

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), spearheaded by Member States, has been pivotal in advancing this endeavour since its inception two years ago. Under the guidance of the INB Bureau, tasked with steering the process and drafting the pandemic agreement, notable strides have been made.

Dr Precious Matsoso, Co-Chair of the INB Bureau representing South Africa, stressed the historic nature of the ongoing negotiations.

“We are witnessing the culmination of a historic endeavour, with nations uniting to forge a binding pact aimed at safeguarding the global populace,” remarked Matsoso.

“This monumental effort is unprecedented, marking the first-ever endeavour to craft a comprehensive pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response agreement. Achieving this objective necessitates meticulous attention to detail, and the INB Bureau remains steadfast in its commitment to finalise a substantive and enduring agreement.”

Echoing this sentiment, Roland Driece, Co-Chair of the INB Bureau from the Netherlands, underscored the urgency of the endeavour in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The launch of this unparalleled initiative by WHO Member States was prompted by an unparalleled global emergency – the Covid-19 pandemic,” noted Driece.

“Recognising the imperative for collaboration and coordination in the face of pandemics, sovereign states embarked on this journey with a shared resolve to enhance global preparedness.

“While negotiations have presented challenges, there is a consensus that the world must fortify its defences against future pandemics. The imperative is clear: we cannot afford to squander this historic opportunity to fortify global resilience against looming pandemic threats.”

The groundwork for this collaborative effort was laid in March 2021, when heads of state and government from two dozen countries issued a resolute statement, calling for concerted global action to confront pandemics.

Subsequently, in December 2021, WHO Member States resolved to initiate a comprehensive global process to draft and negotiate a legally binding convention, agreement, or international instrument to reinforce pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response efforts.

Featured image: Governments have pledged to intensify efforts to refine the draft pandemic agreement over the forthcoming weeks. Credit: Mufid Majnun

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers trending business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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