Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to start negotiations for an international agreement to deal with another pandemic.
The intention is that the agreements still to be made will come into effect from 2024.
The resolution on the agreement was adopted at the end of a three-day meeting of the 194 member states in Geneva, Switzerland. The decision was received with applause. The deal is not just about preventing another pandemic but also about preparing for and responding to such a global health crisis.
Experts fear it is only a matter of time before the world faces the next pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus believes it is essential that countries work together so that a pandemic like the one we have today with the coronavirus will “never happen again”.
Negotiations are being conducted by a special group meeting for the first time no later than March 1. During that meeting, the chairmen and vice-chairpersons are elected. They will present a progress report at the next WHO general meeting in 2023. The vote will follow a year later.