Geneva is no stranger to contentious discussions in international health policy-making. The current times are also witnessing the conduct of crucial negotiations at breakneck speed. However, speed and time cannot be excuses in the way diplomatic processes are being conducted, Geneva-based health diplomats say. Several countries have not been happy about forcing consensus on several matters in recent weeks on the back of time and resource constraints.
The discussions around the World Health Assembly in May this year, give us an indication on what is to come in the negotiations for a pandemic accord.
In July, member states will discuss whether and to what extent the new rules to govern pandemics will be binding. They will also come closer to defining the outline of substantive elements of a pandemic accord. But these key developments take place in a particular context that seems already fraught with tension among member states.
This story takes stock of what recent deliberations at the Working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies (WGPR) that took place in May, and the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body discussions in June. We highlight a few key issues that member states are concerned about.
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