World Health Organisation’s Pandemic Treaty

World Health Organisation’s Pandemic Treaty

World Health Organization (WHO) is an important health institution and United Nations’ specialized agency for Health founded in 1948. One of its main objectives is to act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. Studying this topic becomes crucial from the UPSC exam preparation point of view. Check its relevancy from the CSE syllabus perspective:

For Prelims: World Health Organisation

For Mains: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in the News?

Recently, the Members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) held a meeting with an aim towards making the pandemic treaty. 

Probable Question

Examine the role of the World Health Organisation in the backdrop of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Background

  • In December 2021, 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. 

Also read: How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT?

What Does the Pandemic Treaty Envisage?                               

  • An Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) has been established to draft and negotiate the contents of the pandemic treaty in compliance with Article 19 of the WHO Constitution.
  • 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. 
  • Suggestions from Various Stakeholders: 
    • The European Union (EU) also wants a ban on wildlife markets to be included in the treaty. 
      • A widely accepted theory points out 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.

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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-thirds majority is needed to adopt such conventions or agreements.
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was set up under Article 19 and it came into force in 2005. 
Pandemic Treaty: Timeline

The Intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) held its first meeting on February 24, 2022. 

The second meeting, where the members are expected to discuss the progress on a working draft, is scheduled to be held by August 1, 2022.

A progress report is expected to be delivered to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023, and its outcome will be submitted to the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024 for consideration.

News Source: The Hindu

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