Leaders of 23 countries and the WHO (World Health Organization) on Tuesday (30) supported the creation of an international treaty to help deal with future health emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The pact, which strengthens the rules for sharing information, aims to guarantee universal and equal access to vaccines, drugs and tests in times of crisis. The idea was even suggested by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in November last year. At the time, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus backed the measure, but official negotiations never started, diplomats said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Ghebreyesus said that a treaty would fill the gaps exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and that a draft could be presented to the 194 member countries of the WHO at the annual meeting of the organization in May.
The organization has been criticized for its handling of the health crisis, after being accused by the leadership of former US President Donald Trump of helping China hide the extent of the epidemic, which the institution denies .
In January and February, the WHO sent a team of experts to Wuhan, China, where Covid-19 was first detected, to investigate the origin of the coronavirus.
Also on Tuesday, Ghebreyesus said the envoys did not have full access to the data and called for further investigations, which led to a backlash from the United States and its allies for China to reveal more data on the emergence of the virus.
The proposed treaty received formal support from the leaders of Fiji, Portugal, Romania, UK, Rwanda, Kenya, France, Germany, Greece, South Korea , Chile, Costa Rica, Albania, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Indonesia, Ukraine and WHO it -even.
“There will be other pandemics and major health emergencies. No government or multilateral agency can deal with this threat alone, ”the leaders wrote in an opinion piece jointly signed and published in various newspapers.
“We believe nations should work together on a new international treaty to prepare for and respond to the pandemic.”
The leaders of the United States and China did not sign the article, but Ghebreyesus said both powers reacted positively to the proposal and that all countries would be represented in the negotiations.
Later, at a press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the country had concerns, especially about when to start treaty negotiations now.
Psaki also said the talks could end up diverting attention from the substantive issues surrounding the pandemic response and future preparedness, even if Biden’s leadership remains open to international collaboration.