Corruption Government Health

W.H.O.’s Secretive Global Pandemic Treaty Sparks Controversy!

The World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) push to finalize a global pandemic treaty is set to conclude Friday after weeks of secretive discussions in Geneva, Switzerland. This drive has sparked significant concern among conservatives who view it as an overreach of bureaucratic power.

The urgency to finalize a deal before the end of next week’s annual gathering of the U.N. subsidiary’s 194 member states highlights the organizers’ desire to secure an agreement quickly. The health bureaucrats leading these talks must report back to the World Health Assembly, the W.H.O.’s highest decision-making body, regardless of whether they have a finalized text.

However, civil society groups observing the negotiations express skepticism about a swift resolution. “They are negotiating, enthusiastically fighting for a speedy conclusion — but it’s not happening,” said K. M. Gopakumar, senior researcher with the Third World Network, signaling the likelihood of extended discussions.

Critics argue that the W.H.O. is overreaching by attempting to dictate global responses to future pandemics akin to the coronavirus outbreak. This has led to significant opposition, with over 125,000 people in Britain signing a petition demanding a referendum on any decision to join the proposed Pandemic Treaty.

The draft agreement, though not public, reportedly has large sections approved. Disputes remain over issues of access and equity: access to pathogens and pandemic-fighting products such as vaccines. Other contentious topics include sustainable financing, pathogen surveillance, supply chains, and the equitable distribution of tests, treatments, and the means to produce them.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already tempered expectations, indicating that a deal this week seems “very unlikely.” Despite this, Washington continues to work towards ensuring better preparedness for future pandemics. This ongoing push by the W.H.O. raises questions about national sovereignty and the appropriate level of international intervention in public health crises.

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