Biden Urged by GOP Senators to Reject WHO Pandemic Treaty That Threatens U.S. Sovereignty

After more than two years, negotiations among members of the World Health Organization (WHO) did not result in an agreement on a global treaty to tackle future pandemics. WHO had intended to present the draft at its annual meeting of health ministers in Geneva. The treaty aimed to establish guidelines for member countries to prevent future pandemics and enhance resource sharing. However, experts expressed concerns about the lack of consequences for countries that choose not to adhere to the guidelines.

The co-chairs involved in drafting the treaty did not specify the cause of the deadlock, but diplomats indicated that significant differences persisted regarding the sharing of information on emerging pathogens and the exchange of technologies to combat them. The latest draft suggested that WHO should receive 20% of pandemic-related products’ production, such as tests, treatments, and vaccines, while also prompting countries to disclose their agreements with private companies.

Some U.S. Republican senators criticized the draft treaty for allegedly undermining intellectual property rights and empowering WHO, and urged President Biden not to endorse it. The UK’s department of health stated its willingness to support the treaty only if it aligned with British national interests and sovereignty.

In addition, several developing countries voiced concerns about the potential inequality in providing virus samples to aid in the development of vaccines and treatments, while facing challenges in affording them. Despite the failure to reach an agreement on the draft treaty, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that efforts would persist, asserting the ongoing necessity of a pandemic treaty. If approved, member nations would be legally obligated by the treaty, encompassing policies on pathogen surveillance and scientific data sharing during outbreaks.

Written by Staff Reports

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