Health: No agreement on global pandemic agreement

International negotiations on a pandemic agreement by the World Health Organization (WHO) have ended after two years without consensus. The 194 member countries of the UN organization had set themselves the goal of adopting the pact next week in Geneva at the WHO’s annual meeting.

The agreement was intended to prevent global chaos like the corona pandemic and ensure that all countries are supplied with all the necessary protective material, medicines and vaccines in a timely manner.

However, diplomats from various countries as well as WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed optimism that work on the agreement could continue in the future. The co-chair of the negotiating body, the Dutchman Roland Driece, expressed the hope that an agreement would be achieved “in the coming years”. “This is not a failure,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told delegates in Geneva. “You’ve really accomplished a lot, you’ve come a long way.” Now it is time to learn lessons from the previous negotiations and move on.

Disagreement, among other things, on the subject of financing

Aid organizations and poorer countries fear that the contract does not guarantee care for the most vulnerable. In richer countries there was resistance from the pharmaceutical industry and from critics who falsely claimed that the WHO wanted to decide whether to impose lockdowns or compulsory vaccinations in the event of a pandemic. There was disagreement on the topics of pandemic prevention and financing, among other things.

It was controversial, for example, to what extent medicines or vaccines should be made available to poorer countries free of charge or at low prices. According to WHO estimates, up to 20 million people have died as a result of the corona pandemic, and almost everyone in the world has been affected in some way by the effects of the virus, said Tedros. “The world still needs a pandemic agreement, and the world needs to be prepared,” he stressed.