What is the order of the World Health Organization’s march to combat the next pandemic that is sure to come? Member countries will work in Geneva to try to find the beginning of an answer.
This extraordinary meeting of the World Health Assembly – the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations of its 194 members – begins on Monday and will last three days to discuss this single topic, at a time when an overly lax Europe is suffering from the fifth wave of the Covid epidemic and the emergence of a new type disturbing.
It has also been two years since the start of the pandemic that has killed millions and trillions of euros.
The management of Covid has shown the limits of what the WHO has the right and means to do, but the international community is divided.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss how best to provide the WHO with a legal framework that will enable it to better address a future crisis, whether in the form of an international treaty or some other formula.
Jawad Mahjour, deputy director of emergency preparedness within the organization, stresses that the International Health Regulations that have guided the work of the World Health Organization since 2005 are not designed to respond to crises of the magnitude of Covid.
Its managing director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is clearly in favor of a treaty to avoid the infernal cycle of “do nothing and then panic”.
“The chaos caused by this pandemic only confirms the world’s need for a strong international agreement that sets the rules,” he said on Wednesday.
But the United States does not support a treaty and favors a faster process.
Conversely, about 70 countries support the treaty, believing it to be the “only substantive proposal” that can ensure “a global response to the next pandemic that is rapid, shared, effective and fair,” according to the open letter published by 32 of them health ministers warning: “We cannot Waiting for the next crisis before we act.”
“Whatever we do in the future, we will need lasting commitment at the highest political level,” a European diplomat explained, calling for “a binding legal framework to structure everything… It’s a very important topic.”
“There are good reasons to believe” that a collective solution can be found, says Steve Solomon, legal director of the World Health Organization.
“It is not something we need to discuss for 107 years. Please keep it up!” Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Monday during an update six months after the release of a critical report on pandemic management, which she co-chaired at the behest of the President World Health Organization.
The report suggested creating a framework agreement for the World Health Organization, which would make it possible to quickly agree on the basics and then add elements as necessary.
A working group has been set up to draft a resolution that can be discussed during the meeting, which begins on Monday.
According to Mahjour, the recommendations that will be discussed fall into four categories: equity, governance and leadership, national and international financing, and systems and tools for responding to a global health crisis.
And he warned that “there is a reason, because the world cannot afford to spread another pandemic for which they are not prepared.”
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”