WHO chief supports “pandemic treaty” to counter future outbreaks | Coronavirus pandemic news


The head of the World Health Organization has called for the speedy start of global negotiations to agree on an international treaty on pandemic preparedness, as part of the radical reforms planned by member states.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told his annual ministerial assembly on Monday that the UN health agency was facing a “serious challenge” to keep its COVID-19 response at the current level and that it required sustainable and flexible financing.

Earlier in the day, health ministers agreed to study recommendations for ambitious reforms made by independent experts to strengthen the capacity of WHO and countries to contain new viruses.

Ministers from the 194 WHO member states will meet from 29 November to decide whether to start negotiations on the pandemic treaty.

“The only recommendation I believe will do its utmost to strengthen WHO and global health security is the recommendation of a pandemic preparedness and response treaty that could also strengthen relations between member states and foster cooperation. That’s an idea that the time has come, ”Tedros said.

In his final words at the WHO annual virtual health assembly, Tedros said the “lack of exchange of data, information, pathogens, technologies and resources” was a crucial feature of the pandemic.

“A [pandemic] the treaty would foster improved sharing, trust and accountability, and provide the solid foundations on which to build other mechanisms for global health security. “

In its 73-year history, only two international treaties were previously negotiated under the auspices of the WHO: the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003 and the International Health Regulations in 2005.

The coronavirus has infected more than 170 million people and killed about 3.6 million, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.

More funding for WHO

On the last day of the one-week assembly, WHO member states agreed in a 14-page resolution to “strengthen WHO’s capacity to assess disease outbreaks as quickly and adequately as possible. global concern.

“It is essential to strengthen global surveillance (disease) and provide the World Health Organization with the authority and capacity to do this important task for all peoples of the world,” the Australian Prime Minister told the assembly. , Scott Morrison.

States called for a complete overhaul of the global alarm system and a stronger, more independent WHO to help prevent future pandemics [File: Francis Mascarenhas/REUTERS]

According to the findings of three independent groups that had reported to the assembly, countries and institutions were unfortunately not prepared to deal with COVID-19. They called for a complete overhaul of the global alarm system and a stronger, more independent WHO to help prevent future pandemics.

One report found that the UN agency had been too slow in declaring the so-called public health emergency of international concern. The WHO sounded its highest alert level on 30 January 2020.

After days of discussion, members agreed to set up a new working group to study and streamline the report’s numerous recommendations and create concrete proposals for next year’s assembly.

The text called on member states to “ensure adequate, flexible, sustainable and predictable funding of the WHO program budget”.

Only 16% of the WHO budget comes from regular membership fees, and the rest comes from voluntary and heavily allocated contributions.

Monday’s resolution also called on all countries to strengthen their basic public health capabilities, increase their ability to detect new threats and communicate them effectively both at home and internationally.

WHO Emergency Management Director Mike Ryan welcomed the decisions and said: “Right now pathogens are in control, they are emerging more often and often silently on a planet that is out of control. balance.

“We need to turn all that has exposed us into this pandemic, our interconnection, we need to turn it into a strength,” he said.

Chile’s ambassador, Frank Tressler Zamorano, said on behalf of 60 countries that a pandemic treaty would help “meet the call of so many experts to restore the system.”

Meanwhile, the resolution stopped explicitly supporting the experts’ recommendation to give the WHO broader powers to initiate research or communicate health threats without waiting for the affected countries to have the green light.

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