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No agreement on global pandemic treaty

After two years of negotiations, the 194 member states of the World Health Organization have not been able to agree on a common pandemic treaty. WHO chief Tedros nevertheless believes that a future agreement is possible.

International negotiations on a pandemic agreement of the World Health Organization (WHO) have ended after two years without consensus. The 194 member states 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 should prevent global chaos like the Corona pandemic and ensure that all countries are supplied with all necessary protective materials, medicines and vaccines in a timely manner.

WHO chief: End of negotiations is “not a failure”

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

Aid organizations and poorer countries fear that the treaty will not ensure that the most vulnerable are provided for. In richer countries, there was resistance from the pharmaceutical industry and from critics who falsely claimed that the WHO wanted to decide on lockdowns or compulsory vaccination in the event of a pandemic.

Should vaccines be available free of charge?

Disagreement existed on issues such as pandemic prevention and financing. One point of contention was the extent to which 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 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and almost everyone in the world has been affected in some way by the effects of the virus, Tedros said. “The world still needs a pandemic agreement, and the world must be prepared,” he stressed.

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