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Americas States Attend Global Pandemic Accord Meeting

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) convened countries of the Americas for a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss progress in the negotiations for a possible future global pandemic accord.

The objective of the two-day meeting last week was to review the fundamental components of the draft document to be presented this may for World Health Assembly (WHA) approval.

The process to draft and negotiate a new accord is led by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States and seeks to strengthen preparedness and response to future pandemics through an instrument that will foster greater global collaboration and political commitment.

Speaking via video at the meeting, PAHO Director Jarbas Barbosa stressed that the participation of countries of the Americas in deliberations is “crucial” to ensure that a future agreement takes into account their needs and characteristics.

In addition, he added that the agreement should ensure fair and equitable access to treatment, vaccines, and personal protective equipment during the next pandemic. “A new instrument represents a unique opportunity to protect future generations,” he emphasized.

The meeting, convened by the PAHO Director, brought together representatives from Ministries of Health from countries in the Americas and their diplomatic missions to the United Nations in Geneva.

The 15-16 February regional meeting was held ahead of the eighth and penultimate session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), which began 19 February in Geneva as discussions to reach global consensus intensify.

PAHO, as the WHO regional office for the Americas, has accompanied countries in the region in deliberations on the agreement and has provided technical and logistical support to facilitate participation of representatives from the region in global discussions.

In 2023, the Organization convened three regional meetings involving national authorities from all countries in the Americas.

As a lesson learned from the response to COVID-19, the critical role of PAHO Revolving Funds was highlighted during last week’s meeting, as well as the importance incorporating the funds into the agreement under development as part of a proposed global infrastructure to ensure equitable access to supplies, equipment, medicines, vaccines and other essential health technologies.

If negotiations on a future pandemic accord are successful, the agreement would be the third legally- binding international instrument agreed by WHO Member States, following the International Health Regulations (IHR) – which aim to prevent the international spread of disease and whose amendments are also under discussion – and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

SOURCE: Pan American Health Organization

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