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  • Kimberley Peek

INB9 continues - an update


27 March 2024

 

Following a pivot from 9am meeting with Member States, stakeholders met with Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for a #PandemicAccord, Roland Driece at 11:30. He apologized for the change in format and the schedule delay. On behalf of the Bureau, he gave an update on the process & potential next steps. There were 77+ people online and 50+ in the room (including a handful of Member States).


Roland explained that the Bureau had held one-hour meetings with each of the 6 WHO regions and advised there was "Zero chance of a draft by tomorrow." He also explained the process had been more difficult than hoped for. Member States had proposed many (many) line text edits and the edits were "not always helpful."


Regarding the next steps, a proposal would be put on to Member States later in the day. The Bureau would propose a reduced "zoom-out" text (currently, the text is 100+ pages with all the bracketed proposals) and resuming discussions for a week in April. He stressed this was just current thinking - still TBC by the Member States.


The "zoom-out" text would include key elements required for a proposed treaty - to be presented for adoption at WHA. He stressed that while it would not take the form of a so-called “framework” agreement, details, legalities, and “heavy lifting” would follow adoption by WHA and take place before treaty goes into force. In other words, the treaty would serve as a “working platform.”


The Co-Chair raised the challenges having just 5 weeks left to get to a document that is both reasonable and legally binding. He also raised the tension between an instrument that tries to "take care of everything" while "leaving details for tomorrow," and "avoiding red lines". He also explained that at this stage, countries don't want to be surprised by new and unfamiliar text.


He closed with a few other points of interest: tomorrow’s outcome document is likely to be a short report; the goal will be to develop a draft resolution for the World Health Assembly by 3 May; they may release a bit of text at a time; and the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations IHR is also entering its final round and negotiations can't overlap.


Many civil society organizations raised objections on process and content, again (and again) requesting more transparency and openness from the Bureau and Member States.

In closing, the Bureau attempted to provide some words of inspiration: Member States DO agree that an agreement should address global health security in an equitable way, and the treaty should be considered a starting point - not a finish line.

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