Countries Find Chaos in Parallel Tracks on Drawing Up New Rules for Health Emergencies, Many Unprepared

It was never going to be easy.

As countries get deeper into the processes for defining new rules for future health emergencies, many delegations in Geneva and in the capitals, are finding it difficult to keep up with multiple consultations, formal, informal and across different forums.

“It is chaotic and disorganized”, one Geneva-based health diplomat told us this week.

While this is just the beginning of long drawn negotiations, churn and disagreements are to be expected. But it is clear that the processes that guide these negotiations, will undoubtedly determine outcomes.

Most immediately, that there are two competing priorities. One is to agree on the process for amending the International Health Regulations, and the second, is to work in parallel, towards an outline for the substantive elements of a new instrument.

As we have witnessed during the past several months, countries have been divided, or at the minimum, seem unsure on how to proceed.

This story brings you an update on how some of these processes have been taking shape following the recent meeting of the Working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies. It also takes a close look at the discussions on the amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).

Photo by Harrison Macourt: Pexels

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