Countries pledged to agree on a global treaty on pandemics within a year

Страны обязались согласовать глобальный договор по пандемиям в течение года

Doctors in a hospital in the Philippines during the coronavirus pandemic. (Archive) Countries pledged to agree on a global treaty on pandemics within a year Healthcare

The annual session of the World Health Assembly ended in Geneva over the weekend. Representatives of countries around the world promised to agree on a global treaty to prevent pandemics within a year. They also adopted amendments to the International Health Regulations, which have not been updated since 2005. 

In particular, a definition of an “emergency situation related to a pandemic” was added to the set of rules. This term will be used to refer to infectious diseases that have the potential to spread across multiple countries, overwhelm response systems, and cause severe social and economic disruption, including disruption of international movement and trade.

Country representatives also agreed to establish a Committee to promote effective implementation of the revised regulations, improve access to medical products and financing, and establish national authorities to monitor implementation of the International Health Regulations within countries.

“The historic decisions taken today demonstrate the shared desire of Member States to protect their populations and those of the world from the shared risk of public health emergencies and future pandemics,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the close of the Assembly. 

“Amendments to the International Health Regulations will strengthen countries’ ability to detect and respond to future outbreaks and pandemics by strengthening their own national capacity and coordinating with other countries in disease surveillance , information sharing and response,” he added.

Global Compact on Pandemics

Country representatives also pledged to continue negotiations on a global pandemic treaty, which aims to improve international coordination and cooperation to prevent, prepare for and respond to pandemics. WHO member states have promised that a treaty will be agreed upon within a year. countries because the next pandemic is a matter of time,” said Dr. Tedros.   

He stressed that the renewal of the International health regulations will provide a “powerful impetus” to finalize a global treaty on pandemics.

What are the International Health Regulations 

The International Health Regulations (IHR) are a legally binding international agreement that defines the responsibilities of countries in managing public health emergencies with potential transboundary effects. 

Among other things, they establish criteria for identifying “public health emergencies of international concern” and requirements for international travel and transportation . 

196 countries have adopted the International Health Regulations, including all 194 WHO member states, as well as Liechtenstein and the Holy See.

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