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Member States consider proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations with discussions on equity to continue

The WHO pandemic agreement and amendments to the International Health Regulation

WHO Member States have continued discussions on proposals to amend the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005), during which the importance of their work to future global security was highlighted.

The  seventh meeting of the Working Group on Amendments to the IHR (WGIHR) was held on 5-9 February 2024, and discussion will resume on 8 March to end this seventh round.

“This Working Group will define the next 10 years of global surveillance and of collective security when it comes to health emergencies and particularly high-impact epidemics,” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

During the latest discussions, governments focused on refining amendments to articles and annexes that were at an advanced stage of negotiation. They also held substantive dialogue on the public health alert – public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) – pandemic continuum.

In the final public session, Co-Chair Dr Ashley Bloomfield reiterated that the WGIHR is a Member State-driven process and the final package of amendments would be agreed by consensus.

Additional issues that are also being considered by the INB, which deal with equity, collaboration, capacity building and financing, will be addressed by Member States on 8 March 2024, when the seventh meeting of the WGIHR will resume.

Proposed amendments to provisions related to governance, and foundational articles of the Regulations, will be addressed when the WGIHR meets for the eighth time in April 2024 to finalize the package of amendments for consideration by the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly in May 2024.

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