Leaders of 23 countries and the WHO (World Health Organization) on Tuesday (30) supported the creation of a treaty to help deal with future health emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The pact, which tightens the rules for sharing information, aims to guarantee universal and equal access to vaccines, drugs and tests in times of crisis. The idea was even suggested by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in November. At the time, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus backed the measure, but official negotiations never started, diplomats said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Ghebreyesus said a treaty would address the loopholes revealed by Covid-19 and that a draft could be presented to the 194 member countries of the WHO at the organization’s annual meeting. in May. The organization has been criticized for handling the health crisis and accused by former US President Donald Trump of helping China hide the extent of the epidemic, which the organization denies.
In January, the WHO sent a team of experts to Wuhan, China, where Covid-19 was first detected, to investigate the origin of the coronavirus. Also on Tuesday, Ghebreyesus said the envoys did not have full access to the data and called for further investigations, which led to a backlash from the United States and its allies in China to reveal more data on the emergence of the virus.
The proposed treaty received formal support from the leaders of Fiji, Portugal, Romania, UK, Rwanda, Kenya, France, Germany, Greece, South Korea , Chile, Costa Rica, Albania, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Indonesia, Ukraine and WHO it -even.
“There will be other pandemics and major health emergencies. No government or multilateral agency can deal with this threat alone, ”the leaders wrote in an opinion piece jointly signed and published in various newspapers. “We believe nations should work together on a new international treaty to prepare for and respond to the pandemic.”
The leaders of the United States and China did not sign the article, but Ghebreyesus said both powers reacted positively to the proposal and that all countries would be represented in the negotiations.
Later, at a press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the country had concerns, especially over when to begin negotiations for a treaty.
Psaki also said the talks could end up diverting attention from the substantive issues surrounding the pandemic response and future preparedness, even if Biden’s leadership remains open to international collaboration.