These remarks were delivered on the occasion of the fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, taking place 27 February – 3 March 2023.
Thank you, co-chair, for the opportunity to provide some general comments on the 0 draft.
The 0 draft of the CA+ is a good basis for starting negotiations.
However, a new, legally binding instrument should create new obligations for parties and thus should go beyond ‘best endeavours’, ‘declarations of good intentions’ or agreements on ‘previously agreed upon texts’.
If the new instrument is to improve future pandemic response meaningfully, it needs to contain stronger language, in particular, to achieve equity in access to products needed to respond to a pandemic as well as equity in access to the knowledge needed to produce such products.
We would like to see strong provisions to*:
- ensure adequate financing for R&D of pandemic products to which all member states should contribute, including during pre/inter-pandemic times;
- require parties to condition government-funded innovations to ensure the sharing and licensing of intellectual property, data and know-how;
- mandate sharing of IP, know-how and transfer of technology in the case of a pandemic;
- a commitment to build and expand regional capacity to manufacture pandemic countermeasures.
Such new legal obligations can be created in compliance with existing international law, including the WTO TRIPS Agreement.
Further, the new instrument should address how essential pandemic countermeasures can be developed, produced and provided as global public goods.
Transparency will be essential for addressing future pandemic risks and implementing the agreement, including monitoring compliance. We suggest that a separate chapter on transparency be included in the agreement.
Thank you for your attention.
*For details see: https://gh.bmj.com/content/7/7/e009709