Brazil, China, South Africa, Iran, India, Russia, Malaysia and the continent of Africa have officially rejected the WHO’s pandemic treaty, which is considered by many to be a power grab; instead these nations chose to keep their national sovereignty. The WHO has been forced to backtrack on its plans due to high number of countries that have said no to the treaty.
Image Credit: Miguel Á. Padriñán
The World Health Assembly held its annual conference last month in order to try and get nations to adopt its amendments to the International Health Regulations; which would have given the WHO control over pandemic response and more control over member-states.
According to the Politico:
The IHR dictate how countries should report on a potential new public health threat and set out the WHO's role. However, assessments of the response to the pandemic have indicated that the regulations fell short and need to be strengthened.
Under the compromise, officially agreed on by countries on Friday evening, countries will have 10 months to reject an amendment to the health regulations instead of nine months, as appeared in an earlier draft text. What has remained in the text is that any amendment to the regulations will come into effect in 12 months. That shaves a year off the current timeline.
A new paragraph added to the text refers to another decision taken at the assembly that will see a working group discuss future IHR amendments. The new text also states that this group will look at amendments to “address specific and clearly identified issues, challenges, including equity, technological or other developments, or gaps that could not effectively be addressed otherwise.”
Brazil, led by Jair Bolosonaro, had already declared that it would not sign onto the treaty.
The Brazilian President said: "I've already spoken to our foreign relations cabinet and if that proposal goes forward, it won't be with Brazil."
Botswana was present at the meeting and was representing the entire continent of Africa - which consisted of 47 member-states.
According to Stephen Andrew, who is a Member of Parliament for Queensland in Australia, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran and Malaysia also refused to sign onto the treaty.
On his Facebook page the MP said that: “In the end, the WHO and its wealthy nation supporters, were forced to back down.”
“They have not given up though – far from it,” he claimed. “Instead, they did what they always do and ‘pivoted’. At their request, a new working group was convened to make ‘technical recommendations on the proposed amendments’ which will re-submitted along with the Pandemic Treaty, at the 77th Health Assembly meeting in 2024.”