Countries agree to negotiate WHO pandemic accord


GENEVA: The World Health Organisation member states agreed on Wednesday to start building a new international accord on how to handle future pandemics and ensure there can be no repeat of Covid-19.

The economic turmoil and millions of lives lost during the coronavirus crisis triggered calls for new international defences strong enough to prevent a future such disaster. At a special meeting in Geneva, the 194 WHO member states unanimously adopted a resolution launching the negotiating and drafting process for a new international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

The process will present its final outcome to WHO member states in 2024. “The adoption of this decision is cause for celebration and cause for hope that we all need,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in closing the three-day gathering.

“Of course, there is still a long road ahead. There are still differences of opinion about what a new accord could or should contain. But you have proven to each other and the world that differences can be overcome and common ground can be found.”

The three-day meeting of the World Health Assembly — the WHO´s decision-making body comprising all 194 member states — was an unprecedented special session on considering a new accord on pandemics.

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