SC Statement to the WHO INB9, March 2024

South Centre Statement at the 9th session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

March 2024

The South Centre underscores the imperative for an international binding pandemic treaty to prevent the recurrence of past failures like those witnessed during the COVID-19 crisis.

However, developed countries have diluted the original intent, leaving the current draft devoid of robust binding provisions and mechanisms to ensure global equity, particularly in areas such as access to vaccines and other pandemic-related products, technology transfer, benefit sharing and non-enforcement of intellectual property rights that may block manufacturing and supply of such products.

Regrettably, the present iteration of the draft treaty fails to adequately address the global health challenges posed by pandemics, as it is laden with voluntary provisions that will not be able to provide the WHO and its members, particularly developing countries, the tools needed to act effectively in a pandemic scenario.

It is imperative that countries of the Global South, representing the majority of WHO membership, unite with a resolute public health vision, and that developed countries adhere to scientific evidence, prioritizing safety for all, to ensure the treaty’s efficacy for present and future generations’ well-being.

Should a minority of countries resist the adoption of the key provisions and mechanisms needed for the treaty to be effective, it is vital to remember that the WHO is a democratic institution where voting can decide the course of action.

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