“Equity” Expands in Pandemic Treaty Discussions at WHO

WHO member states continue to engage and wrestle with the question on whether the world needs a new legal instrument to address future emergencies. Considerations on equity are fast-assuming center-space in these discussions. However, it is too early to say whether and to what extent will equity be addressed meaningfully in future governance of health emergencies.

Under the Working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies (WGPR), member states had several consultations this week.

In two inter-sessional meetings this week, the working group had discussions in a “deep dive” format on “equity and medical countermeasures and sample sharing (benefits derived there-of)”; and on a new instrument. In addition, countries also had a dialogue with Non-State Actors.

Many countries expressed caution and hesitation, raising questions on intent, process, timelines and efficiencies in the context of these discussions, according to sources present at the meeting. It was also noted that there was growing openness among member states to engage in these discussions.

In addition, it is learned that some countries also met for a workshop organized by The Graduate Institute to discuss countermeasures and approaches for governance.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

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