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  • Kimberley Peek

Key takeaways on the final draft of the #PandemicAccord


17 April 2024

 

The proposed World Health Organization #PandemicAccord has been released. It has no provision for monitoring compliance or details on state reporting requirements other than “periodically.” This leaves the Member States with no accountability for any of their treaty commitments (weak or strong).

A positive? The Proposal articulates some ambitious intentions (e.g. tech transfer, pathogen sharing). There is some reasonable text around provisions to promote timely and equitable access to pandemic-related products that were developed with government funding.

However, there is a lot of hedging language (e.g., “take steps,” “consider supporting,” & “according to national law”). Details on key issues (e.g. Pathogen Access and Benefit Sharing/PABS, One Health, and Financing Coordination Mechanisms) remain TBC. An accompanying draft resolution for the World Health Assembly proposes creating working groups on these “sticky issues.” A working group for accountability or any type of Compliance Committee is notably missing.


The WHO Secretariat will be the agreement Secretariat. In other words, this WHO is not hosting an Independent Secretariat - it is the Secretariat. The DG will also be responsible for convening the expert committees that will drive the thinking forward on these issues. In a shift from earlier drafts, the proposal puts WHO squarely in charge as “the directing and coordinating authority on international health work including on pandemic preparedness, prevention and response.”


Of note, any reference to any new fund(s) and debt relief in support of pandemic preparedness and response is gone. There is also new language around the potential development of a new (and separate?) instrument for One Health. A draft resolution to the May World Health Assembly also proposes establishing Committee E as the main committee to deal with health emergency-related matters. It is not clear how this Committee will relate to the treaty, if at all.


The bottom line? There is no provision for financing or accountability. So, even if adopted, how could or would any (even a weak) commitment be measured? And how can any ambition be achieved without funding to support implementation?


Final negotiations begin on April 29th.

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