What should be included in the new WHO "pandemic treaty"? Here is what PSI stands for

On 12-13 April, PSI took part in the first round of public hearings organized by the newly established WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body in charge of drafting and negotiating a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

In December 2021, the World Health Assembly established an Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

In the decision establishing the INB, the Assembly also requested the WHO Director-General to support the work of the INB, including by holding public hearings, in line with standard WHO practice, before the second meeting of the INB to inform its deliberations.

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PSI's submission to the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body of the pandemic treaty

Two rounds of public hearings were planned. The first one happened on 12-13 April. The second will take place on 16-17 June.

For the first round of hearings, the guiding question was: “What substantive elements do you think should be included in a new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response?” 

Here is PSI's written submission to the INB:

Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness & Right to Health

Strong universal public health systems are the bulwark for pandemic preparedness. The fundamental link between universal realization of the right to health and pandemic preparedness must be highlighted.

Health Employment, Decent Work & OSH

MS need to concretely address the global shortage of health and care workers by implementing the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health and the UN COMHEEG recommendations. IPC guidelines formulation should uphold application of the precautionary principle to safeguard health workers.

Strategic stockpiles and healthcare supply chains

We need reform of the global healthcare supply chains for PPE, and all equipment and supplies required for preparedness, by refocusing on local production; developing regional supply chains, and promoting public industrial policies that enable conversion of manufacturing capacity for pandemic response.

Pandemic response products and IPR

Intellectual property rights undermined the goals of Resolution WHA 73.1, establishing “vaccine apartheid,” and corporations profited from the COVID-19 pandemic while billions of people could not access COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. We call for the inclusion of an automatic trigger of suspension of needed pandemic products related IPR with the declaration of a PHIEC.

Financing, international cooperation and solidarity

Sustainable and predictable funding requires global financial and tax architecture reforms, including debt relief, removal of IFIs conditionalities for affected poorer countries, wealth tax & increased taxes for corporations making excess profits.

Finally, migrants and refugees must not be discriminated against in pandemic response contexts.