WHO Renews Push for Global Pandemic Treaty, as World Bank Creates $1 Billion Fund for Vax Passports

While the World Health Organization pushes ahead with plans to enact a new or revised international pandemic preparedness treaty, the World Bank and other organizations are advancing new vaccine passport regimes.

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D.


The World Health Organization (WHO) is moving ahead with plans to enact a new or revised international pandemic preparedness treaty, despite encountering setbacks earlier this summer after dozens of countries, primarily outside the Western world, objected to the plan.


A majority of WHO member states on July 21, during a meeting of WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), agreed to pursue a legally binding pandemic instrument that will contain “both legally binding as well as non-legally binding elements.”


STAT News described the agreement, which would create a new global framework for responding to pandemics, as “the most transformative global health call to action since [the] WHO itself was formed as the first specialized United Nations agency in 1948.”


Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum, African Union and World Bank — which created a $1 billion fund for “disease surveillance” and “support against the current as well as future pandemics” — are developing their own pandemic response mechanisms, including new cross-country vaccine passport frameworks.


WHO’s ‘pandemic treaty’: what’s been proposed and what would it mean?

Ongoing talks to formulate a new or revised “pandemic treaty” are building on the existing international framework for global pandemic response, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR), considered a binding instrument of international law.


On Dec. 1, 2021, in response to calls from various governments for a “strengthened global pandemic strategy” and signaling the urgency with which these entities are acting, the WHO formally launched the process of creating a new treaty or amending the IHR, during Special Session — only the second in the organization’s history.


During the meeting, held May 10-11, WHO’s 194 member countries unanimously agreed to launch the process, which previously had been discussed only informally.


The member countries agreed to:

“Kickstart a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”

The IHR, a relatively recent development, were first enacted in 2005, in the aftermath of SARS-CoV-1.


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