Countries Extend Negotiations for Pandemic Preparedness Treaty After Failing to Reach Agreement


After two years of negotiations, the 194 countries comprising the World Health Organization (WHO) did not agree to a treaty on pandemic preparedness. Wide gaps persist between high and low-income countries on key issues such as the sharing of vaccines. Despite missing the original deadline, the member states agreed to extend talks with the goal of reaching a deal by 2025. The WHO countries did make modest progress. The countries unanimously approved updates to International Health Regulations. In one of the changes, countries defined ‘pandemic emergency’ as “a communicable disease that has a wide geographical spread or a high risk of one, and has exceeded or can exceed the ability of national health systems to respond.” Countries came to a consensus on policies that help lees developed countries gain more access to financing and medical products. With the more time to hash out larger accord, the countries will continue discussions that aim to enhance international cooperation that helps prevent and respond to pandemics.

Full Story: Associated Press, Reuters