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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 10:51 UTC



WHO Pandemic Agreement not achieved but Tedros still confident

Monday, May 27th 2024 - 19:18 UTC
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When there is a will there is a way, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said When there is a will there is a way, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said

World leaders were urged Monday to keep working toward an unprecedented agreement among nations that would give the World Health Organization (WHO) a stronger voice in fighting the next pandemic. The announcements came after negotiators failed to produce a draft of the agreement by the May 24 deadline, although talks are still ongoing and some form of pact is said to be on the table.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged delegates at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva to stay the course despite the missed deadline. The Ethiopian expert also said he was confident that such a goal could still be reached shortly.

“Of course, we all wish that we had been able to reach a consensus on the agreement in time for this health assembly and cross the finish line, but I remain confident that you still will because where there is a will, there is a way.”

Tedros also pointed out that the WHO negotiators had undertaken an “immense” task “technically, legally, and politically” for which they had been “operating on a very ambitious timeline.”

“You have demonstrated a clear commitment to reaching an agreement,” he added. Ghebreyesus also underlined the uphill task posed by “a torrent of misinformation that was undermining your negotiations.”

After negotiators brief the Assembly bringing together dignitaries from all 194 WHO Member States on Tuesday about what has been achieved so far, the body is to decide which course of action to take in the following months, including a revision of the 1969 International Health Regulations (IHR) governing health emergencies in a legally binding manner. These proposals might have a better chance of being adopted this week, it was explained.

The WHO is interested in avoiding an encore of how the Covid-19 crisis was handled in the early 2020s: It was all about “Me first,” Ghebreyesus said of how vaccines were purchased and distributed, which triggered the Pandemic Agreement initiative.

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