Negotiations on future WHO pandemic treaty take place in Geneva this week
The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing a new international pandemic treaty to improve pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. The aim is for the treaty to be ready in May 2024. The third meeting of the intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to discuss the treaty will be held in Geneva on 5–7 December.
Legal Adviser Jenna Uusitalo and Senior Ministerial Adviser for Medical Affairs Anni-Riitta Virolainen-Julkunen of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will take part in the meeting.
“The meeting will focus on the conceptual zero draft prepared to support the negotiations. The aim is to discuss what themes want to be highlighted in the treaty and to go through the target timetable for the negotiations,” says Uusitalo.
Negotiations on treaty text expected to start in February
This week’s discussions will also set out the way forward on preparing the treaty. The next stage is expected to include the preparation of the first actual draft of the treaty, which will then be negotiated line by line. The next meeting is scheduled for late February. The aim is for the treaty to be adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2024.
Another intergovernmental process is also underway to examine the possible need to update the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005). The target timetable for this is also the World Health Assembly in 2024.
Parliament and stakeholders are kept informed of different stages of negotiations
Parliament is kept informed of the different stages of the negotiations through Europe communications.
“We will not submit a Europe communication to Parliament regarding this week’s negotiations, because the contents of the treaty are still discussed at a very general level and Finland’s positions on the matters now under discussion were outlined in a follow-up Europe communication submitted to Parliament in September. The aim is to submit a Europe communication to Parliament early next year when we expect to see the zero draft of the treaty ready. The negotiations on this draft will start in February.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will also organise a second consultation event for stakeholders to discuss the first proposal for the treaty text. The first discussions with stakeholders were held on 28 September this year.
Finland’s delegation for the negotiations includes representatives not only from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health but also from the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. In addition, cooperation is conducted between different administrative branches. You can follow the progress of the negotiations on the WHO's website.
- News of the stakeholder's meeting arranged on 28 September
- Treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response on the WHO’s website
- Europe communications submitted to Parliament
Jenna Uusitalo, Legal Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 152, jenna.uusitalo(at)gov.fi