WHO pandemic treaty
Priority question for written answer P-000921/2022
to the Commission
Christine Anderson (ID)
On 1 December 2021 the 194 members of the World Health Organization (WHO) reached a consensus to begin the process of drafting and negotiating a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
An intergovernmental negotiating body will now be constituted and hold its first meeting by 1 March 2022 (to agree on ways of working and timelines) and its second by 1 August 2022 (to discuss progress on a working draft). It will then deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023, with the aim to adopt the instrument by 2024.
Many who favour the treaty believe that it offers the best way to increase political commitment from states to reform global health governance. However, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that this proposition has no basis in fact. Government responses to COVID-19 have purportedly violated or manipulated many treaties, including human rights agreements.
To what extent will the Commission ensure that the citizen, who has no direct vote in a body such as the WHO, is not bypassed in the decision-making process and that a shift of competence further and further away from the voter does not lead to an increasing ‘de-democratisation’ of our society?