WHO pandemic treaty

The Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) have assessed that international preparedness for pandemics and other health threats must be strengthened. At its special session in December 2021, the World Health Assembly decided to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body to prepare a treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. The intergovernmental treaty negotiations began in February 2022, and the treaty is set to be completed by May 2024. 

The WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR) are a key international agreement that covers measures to prepare for, and respond to, cross-border health threats. The aim of the future pandemic treaty is to further strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response internationally. Adopting the treaty will probably require a two-thirds majority of the WHO Member States, and the treaty will enter into force for a Member State when the State commits to it in accordance with its constitutional processes. 

The treaty negotiations take place in the intergovernmental negotiating body, which consists of the WHO Member States. This means that Finland also takes part in the negotiations. Finland’s delegation for the negotiations includes representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. The delegation also consults other administrative branches and stakeholders. Finland participates in the negotiations as part of the European Union, which forms the common positions for the negotiations. 

The WHO Member States are also negotiating on amendments to the IHR. This is a separate process from the treaty negotiations, with the aim of strengthening the current IHR as necessary. The Member States have proposed amendments to the articles of the current IHR. The proposed amendments concern about half of the 66 articles of the IHR. The target timetable is the same as for adopting the pandemic treaty, i.e. May 2024. Adopting the amendments will require unanimity from the WHO Member States. Finland will adopt the amendments in accordance with its own national procedures.

Parliament is kept informed of the progress of both negotiations and Finland’s positions. In addition, discussion events will be arranged for stakeholders. The events have included participants from Amnesty International, the Finnish Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, for example. You can follow the progress of the negotiations on the WHO's website.

Further information