In news- Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) held the first round of negotiations towards the pandemic treaty aimed at agreeing on ways of working and timelines for a “convention agreement recently.
About the pandemic treaty of WHO-
- The process for the treaty was started in December 2021 where the World Health Assembly agreed to start a global process to draft the pandemic treaty.
- The need for an updated set of rules was felt after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings of global health systems.
- The Health Assembly adopted a decision titled “The World Together” at its second special session since it was founded in 1948.
- Under the decision, the WHO established an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to draft and negotiate the contents of the pandemic treaty in compliance with Article 19 of the WHO Constitution.
- Article 19 of the WHO Constitution gives the World Health Assembly the authority to adopt conventions or agreements on matters of health. A two-third majority is needed to adopt such conventions or agreements.
- For example, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was set up under Article 19 and it came into force in 2005.
- The pandemic treaty is expected to cover aspects like data sharing and genome sequencing of emerging viruses and equitable distribution of vaccines and drugs and related research throughout the world.
- The European Union (EU) also wants a ban on wildlife markets to be included in the treaty.
- A widely-accepted theory points that the novel coronavirus may have jumped from animals to humans in a wildlife market of China.
- While the EU wants the treaty to be legally binding, the U.S., Brazil and India have expressed reservations about the same. The legal nature of the treaty is yet to be defined.
- The second meeting for the treaty, where the members are expected to discuss the progress on a working draft, is scheduled to be held by August 1, 2022.
- INB will also hold public hearings to inform its deliberations; deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023; and submit its outcome for consideration by the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024.