Game on at WHO: International Health Regulations Vs The Pandemic Treaty

We are pleased to bring you the first edition of Treaty Talks, a new series that will track negotiations around a potential pandemic treaty in the coming months (and years).

This edition is a comprehensive analysis of the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body that took place last week.

The launch of the negotiations for a new instrument to govern health emergencies marks a significant milestone for global health power brokers. Yet no sooner than these discussions kicked off last week (now a world away), the geopolitical and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, was lit by Russia. Inevitably, the flames from this crisis will cast long and dark shadows on these negotiations, while opening up opportunities for other member states to decisively shape the forum of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). Some believe, it might even weaken plans for a new pandemic treaty.

The INB had its first meeting on February 24, 2022, close on the heels of another meeting of the Working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies. (21-23 February).

This story looks at what the past week has meant for the pandemic treaty discussions at the cusp of laying down rules on how these negotiations will be structured. And how the parallel discussions on amending the IHRs will likely influence these processes. (We describe proceedings in these two meetings in one story, because there are clear overlaps and took place in the same week)

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

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