- Kimberley Peek
Summary and Analysis of Meeting 5 of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for the Pandemic Treaty
After three days of considering the zero-draft of the Pandemic Accord in closed-door sessions, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) suspended its fifth meeting, which it will resume on the last day of its drafting meeting scheduled to take place from 12-16 June. In contrast to the conclusion of INB 4, where Member States noted the difficulty of the discussions, Member States were able to conclude their business earlier than expected, exceeding the expectations of the Bureau and the Secretariat. The Member States approved the progress report to be presented to the World Health Assembly scheduled to take place from 21-30 May.
The INB will host its drafting group meeting from 12-16 June. In the meantime, Member States can continue to submit textual proposals by 22 April that the Bureau will compile and circulate by 22 May. The Bureau will also circulate a "Bureau Draft," or first draft, for the consideration of drafting Groups before the June Meeting. And the INB and Working Group on the International Health Regulations (WGIHR) will have a joint session with the INB.
Regarding takeaways, Member States reported that they are making progress, but it's hard to know if this is the case. The Financial Times reported that Member States continue to grapple with issues related to the scope, oversight mechanisms, and obligations of the accord, including matters related to the definition of a “pandemic,” access to outbreak areas, and resource sharing. They also noted that divisions between Member States from earlier sessions persist, particularly around pricing for countermeasures. Geneva Health Files reports that Member States are starting to develop coalitions, with Indonesia leading an equity group and a possible role for the G-77.
Against the INB’s compressed timeline and with the continued understanding that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Member States have little time to reconcile their differences on these divisive issues. That said, the mood seemed positive at the close of the meeting, with co-chair Precious Matsoso stating that it “exceeded expectations.” In the continued spirit of consensus, Chile, of the Group of Friends of the Treaty, took the floor to reiterate that the Group of Friends was happy to continue to host informal meetings to foster conversations and help reach a consensus.