The World Health Organization (WHO) obtained an agreement on Wednesday to begin discussions to establish an international treaty to avoid and manage future pandemics.
This treaty, which intends to tighten measures to combat pandemics, is expected to be completed by May 2024, according to current estimates. In addition to data sharing and genome sequencing of new viruses, the treaty will address issues such as the fair distribution of vaccinations and treatments.
“The approval of this resolution is a reason for joy and optimism, which is something that we all need,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“It goes without saying that there is still a long way to go. On what should or should not be included in a new agreement, there are still differences of opinion,” he said while expressing his support for the continuation of the collaboration and urged the nations to adhere to the World Health Organization’s worldwide health norms from 2005.
The resolution, titled “The world united,” was accepted unanimously during the World Health Assembly, which brought together representatives from all 194 member countries of the World Health Organization after three days of deliberation.
The European Union (EU) on its side has also been attempting to reach an agreement on a legally binding international treaty with around 70 nations. However, it is reported some of the world’s largest countries such as Brazil, India, and the United States were unwilling to commit to a treaty at the time.
“We ask for an aggressive process for the development of this treaty,” said Lotte Knudsen, head of the European Union mission to the United Nations in Geneva, on Wednesday. “We call for an ambitious approach for the formulation of this treaty.” Adding, “Let us all express our dedication to multilateralism as well as our devotion to a legally enforceable document.”
“This is a significant step [that] symbolizes our common obligation to work together to achieve health security and strengthen and improve the responsiveness of the global health system,” said President Barack Obama.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has been identified in more than 262.22 million individuals throughout the globe, and 5.46 million people have perished since the virus’s first appearance in China in December of this year.