The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), who is a working committee of the unelected World Health Organization (WHO) met for the third time on 5-7 December 2022, where they continued negotiating the proposed international pandemic treaty and announced that member states inched closer to developing a legally binding global pandemic treaty.  

“I welcome the agreement by @WHO Member States to develop a zero draft of a legally binding #PandemicAccord designed to protect the world from future pandemics and to continue discussions on the draft in February 2023,” said WHO CEO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The member states ‘demand’ an international agreement that respects sovereignty, fosters solidarity, encourages readiness, and takes equity into account. It was decided that the INB Bureau will create the initial version of the pandemic pact so that talks can begin at the fourth INB conference, to be held on February 27, 2023. 

The conceptual zero draft and the comments held during last week’s INB meeting will serve as the foundation for the document. The Co-Chairs, Mr. Roland Driece*, Health Minister of the Netherlands and Ms. Precious Matsoso, Director General of Health of South Africa, are among the six delegates who make up the INB Bureau, one from each of the six WHO regions.

Without prejudice to later consideration of the applicability of Article 21, the WHO pandemic accord is being evaluated with a view to its adoption under Article 19 of the WHO Constitution.

The impact of the treaty will be wide reaching:

1 According to the WHO, future pandemic restrictions for specific nations, such as lockdowns, would be determined by the global pandemic treaty and will be “legally enforceable.” A “legal instrument, founded in the WHO Constitution, designed to protect the globe from future pandemics,” according to the WHO, will be enforced by the treaty. 

2 The WHO has the “power to enact regulations addressing; 
a sanitary and quarantine standards and other procedures designed to prevent the       international transmission of disease,” according to Article 21 of the WHO’s constitution.
b “Other procedures” which opens targeted people to forced compliance of any type of technology to be administered and this is wider than just vaccines, which member states have already supported. 
3 The treaty would allow the WHO to determine what a pandemic is and when one is occurring — even over something non-viral like an obesity, climate change, war or terrorist crisis. It will be used under the guise of protecting public confidence in health and safety,  

4 The WHO also claims the pandemic treaty will “respect sovereignty.” 

The draft that resulted from this third meeting includes a provision that reads:

“States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health, notably pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems pursuant to their own policies and legislation provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to other States and their peoples.” 
While national sovereignty is crucial, can the WHO be trusted, because earlier this year, the WHO and the German health minister said that countries disobeying regulations dictated by the WHO through their pandemic treaty might need to be sanctioned

Australia is an active WHO Member State and current member of WHO’s Executive Board. Australia is currently the second largest core voluntary contributor, having committed A$47.19 million during 2020-21 to the WHO. Dr Stephanie Williams was appointed as Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security in March 2020.  Despite the significance of this treaty, Australian elected parliamentarians are remaining silent and negotiating in secret with the WHO.