New WHO Negotiating Body on ‘Pandemic Instrument’ Meets Amid Civil Society Appeal
Unconscious and intubated Covid-19 patients are treated in Vila Penteado Hospital’s ICU, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The first session of the newly constituted Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft a “pandemic preparedness instrument” for the World Health Organization (WHO) began on Monday.

The six-member body, representing all WHO regions, is made up of Precious Matsoso (South Africa), Roland Driece (the Netherlands), Ambassador Tovar da Silva Nunes (Brazil), Ahmed Salama Soliman (Egypt), Kazuho Taguchi (Japan) and Viroj Tangcharoensathien (Thailand).

The two-day session will elect two co-chairs, as well as agree on the working methods and timelines of body “based on the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, efficiency, Member State leadership and consensus”, according to the agenda.

Meanwhile, almost 200 civil society leaders have asked the six negotiators to protect the process from any “undue influence of the private sector and its powerful lobbyists”.

In an open letter addressed the six negotiators, the leaders have asked the INB to pay attention to a number of issues including:

  • The multiple determinants of potential future pandemics, including the inherent injustice and structural inequities exacerbated by such crises
  • The interconnected dynamics of issues, including the unsustainable food production and livestock breeding, wildlife trading, resource-intensive lifestyles and consumption, destruction of ecosystems, antimicrobial resistance and soaring figures of cancer
  • The state of universal public health systems and their workforce 
  • Incoherent policymaking by Member States and the lack of international cooperation
  • Ensuring more inclusive engagement in the treaty-making process that balance the Member State-driven delicate diplomatic process and protect it from the undue influence of the private sector and its powerful lobbyists.

The letter has been facilitated by the Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2), as a service to its members involved in this process.

Image Credits: Adnan Abidi/Flickr, Ninian Reid/Flickr.

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