Amendments made to Articles of International Health Regulations concerning time limits
Amendments have been made to the Articles of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR) concerning the time period within which the States Parties must adopt, reject or make reservations to any future IHR amendments.
In May 2022, the World Health Assembly adopted amendments concerning Articles 55, 59, 61, 62 and 63 of the IHR. In Finland, the President of the Republic decided on the approval of the amendments on 2 November 2023. The amendments were brought into force by a government decree on 23 November 2023.
The amendments concern the time period within which the States Parties must adopt, reject or make reservations to any future IHR amendments. They do not apply to any other contents of the IHR and are therefore of a technical nature. The amendments do not contain provisions falling within the competence of Parliament, and for this reason, it was not necessary to prepare a government proposal on them.
In future, the States Parties will have ten months to give notification of their rejection of, or reservations to, any IHR amendments adopted by the World Health Assembly. Previously, such notifications had to be made within 18 months. In addition, the timeframe for IHR amendments to take effect was reduced from 24 months to 12 months.
The WHO’s International Health Regulations are an international legal instrument that covers measures to prepare for, and respond to, cross-border health threats. Finland brought the IHR into force by an act and a decree in 2007. The WHO is currently negotiating both amendments to the IHR and a new pandemic treaty with the aim of strengthening the international regulatory framework for preparing for pandemics and other health threats.
Mirka-Tuulia Kuoksa, Ministerial Adviser, firstname.lastname(at)gov.fi