The World Health Organization (WHO) is pushing forward with plans to enact a new or revised international pandemic preparedness treaty.
This is despite the setbacks they recently encountered after dozens of countries, mainly outside the Western world, objected to the plan.
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During a meeting of WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) on July 21, A majority of WHO member states agreed to pursue a legally binding pandemic instrument that will contain “both legally binding as well as non-legally binding elements.”
The Defender reports: STAT News described the agreement, which would create a new global framework for responding to pandemics, as “the most transformative global health call to action since [the] WHO itself was formed as the first specialized United Nations agency in 1948.”
Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum, African Union and World Bank — which created a $1 billion fund for “disease surveillance” and “support against the current as well as future pandemics” — are developing their own pandemic response mechanisms, including new cross-country vaccine passport frameworks.
WHO’s ‘pandemic treaty’: what’s been proposed and what would it mean?
Ongoing talks to formulate a new or revised “pandemic treaty” are building on the existing international framework for global pandemic response, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR), considered a binding instrument of international law.
On Dec. 1, 2021, in response to calls from various governments for a “strengthened global pandemic strategy” and signaling the urgency with which these entities are acting, the WHO formally launched the process of creating a new treaty or amending the IHR, during Special Session — only the second in the organization’s history
During the meeting, held May 10-11, WHO’s 194 member countries unanimously agreed to launch the process, which previously had been discussed only informally.
The member countries agreed to:
“Kickstart a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”
The IHR, a relatively recent development, were first enacted in 2005, in the aftermath of SARS-CoV-1.
The IHR legal framework is one of only two binding treaties the WHO has achieved since its inception, the other being the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The IHR framework already allows the WHO director-general to declare a public health emergency in any country, without the consent of that country’s government, though the framework requires the two sides to first attempt to reach an agreement.
The proposals for a new or revised pandemic treaty, put forth at the special ministerial session of the WHO in May, would “somewhat” strengthen the WHO’s pandemic-related powers, including establishing a “Compliance Committee” that would issue advisory recommendations for states.
However, according to the Daily Sceptic, while the IHR is already legally binding, the amendments proposed in May would not strengthen existing legal obligations or requirements:
“The existing treaty regulations, like all (or most) international law, do not actually compel states to do anything other than talk to the WHO and listen to it, and neither do they specify sanctions for non-compliance; almost all their output is advice.
“The proposed amendments don’t alter that. They don’t allow the WHO unilaterally to impose legally binding measures on or within countries.”
The Daily Sceptic noted one of the risks stemming from the negotiations for a new or updated treaty include the potential codification of “the new lockdown orthodoxy for future pandemics,” which would “replace the sound, science-based, pre-COVID recommendations” previously in place.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, such a treaty would grant the WHO “absolute power over global biosecurity, such as the power to implement digital identities/vaccine passports, mandatory vaccinations, travel restrictions, standardized medical care and more.”
Mercola also questioned a “one-size-fits-all approach to pandemic response,” pointing out that “pandemic threats are not identical in all parts of the world. In his view, he said, “the WHO is not qualified to make global health decisions.”