World Health Organization

FACT CHECK: Pandemic treaty won’t remove sovereign powers of signatory countries

Rappler.com
FACT CHECK: Pandemic treaty won’t remove sovereign powers of signatory countries
The World Health Organization says the working draft of the pandemic treaty illustrates the importance of national sovereign rights of signatory countries, and includes full respect for human rights

Claim: The pandemic treaty being drafted by World Health Organization member states will remove the sovereign powers of signatory countries and will give the WHO sole control over these countries in times of pandemic.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has over 1,500 reactions, 2,800 comments, and 14,000 views, as of writing.

WHO’s statement: The WHO said on its website that the working draft of the pandemic treaty “illustrates a number of potential principles for the new accord, including the importance of national sovereign rights and full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons.”

The WHO also said the governments of signatory countries would determine how to implement the treaty in accordance with their own national laws and regulations.

Preparation for future pandemics: According to the WHO website, the member states of the WHO have agreed to draft and negotiate a “convention, agreement, or other international instruments to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response” to:

  • bBuild resilience to pandemics.
  • Support prevention, detection, and responses to outbreaks with pandemic potential.
  • Ensure equitable access to pandemic countermeasures.
  • Support global coordination through a stronger and more accountable WHO.

The working draft of the treaty, Conceptual Zero Draft (CZD), has no sections that give power to the WHO to remove the sovereignty of a signatory country and control it in times of pandemic. 

Chapters III and IV of the CZD cover the aspects of pandemic response that the treaty will focus on:

  • Building a reliable global supply chain for pandemic response products
  • Strengthening global manufacturing capacity for pandemic-related products  
  • Increasing research and development capacities of parties of the accord
  • Promoting scientific and technical cooperation between signatory countries
  • Ensuring timely access to affordable, safe, efficacious, and effective pandemic response products, including diagnostics, vaccines, personal protective equipment, and therapeutics
  • Sharing of pathogens, genetic sequence data
  • Strengthening the resilience of signatory countries’ health systems
  • Sustaining a skilled and competent health workforce in signatory countries
  • Implementing effective and efficient monitoring of pandemic prevention and preparedness

The WHO said in a press release that the intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) tasked to develop the pandemic treaty held its latest meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from December 5 to 7, 2022, to further develop the draft. 

The final outcome is expected to be presented at the 77th World Health Assembly in May 2024. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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