WHO Member States Extend Pandemic Agreement Negotiations For Another Year

(MENAFN- IANS) Geneva, June 2 (IANS) Member states of the WHO have agreed to extend the talks over the pandemic agreement for another year, allowing for more time needed to finalise the landmark treaty to combat future pandemics and enhance preparedness.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), which was established in December 2021 to draft the agreement and guide the negotiation process, will continue its mandate to deliver the agreement by the next World health Assembly in 2025, or earlier, if possible, at a special session of the health assembly in 2024, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

"There was a clear consensus among all member states on the need for a further instrument to help the world better fight a full-blown pandemic," said INB co-chair Precious Matsoso.

This year's World Health Assembly also agreed on a package of amendments to another international instrument, the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), introducing a definition of a pandemic emergency to trigger more effective international collaboration in response to a potential pandemic.

The amendments will bolster countries' ability to detect and respond to future outbreaks and pandemics by strengthening their national capacities, and coordination between member states, on disease surveillance, information sharing and response, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Today's strengthening of the IHR provides powerful momentum to complete the Pandemic Agreement, which, once finalised, can help to prevent a repeat of the devastation to health, societies and economies caused by Covid-19," the WHO head added.



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