WHASS2: Special session of the World Health Assembly referred to in decision WHA74(16)
29 November – 1 December 2021
Geneva, Switzerland | Virtual event
Webcast page: https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2021/11/29/default-calendar/second-special-session-of-the-world-health-assembly
The World Health Assembly (WHA) will gather for a special session 29 November to 1 December to consider developing a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.
The WHA normally meets each May. This special session (the second in the history of the WHO) was called for in a decision adopted by the Member States at the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly: Decision WHA74(16).
During the session, the Member States will consider the following single substantive agenda item:
Consideration of the benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response with a view towards the establishment of an intergovernmental process to draft and negotiate such a convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response, taking into account the report of the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies.
The Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies, established after the WHA74, has met on four occasions and considered findings from several bodies in preparing its report. The sessions will be public and webcast on this page and other WHO channels.
WHASS2 Documents [at 27 Nov 2021]
SSA2/1 – Provisional agenda
SSA2/1 Add.1 – Preliminary daily timetable
SSA2/2 – Special procedures
SSA2/3 – Report of the Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies to the special session of the World Health Assembly ]23 Nov 2021 :: 10 pages]
Decision-making and procedural issues at the hybrid Second special session of the World Health Assembly [25 Nov 2021 :: 5 pages]
Summary of the Secretariat analysis prepared for the consideration of the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies [23Nov 2021 :: 3 pages]
IFPMA Statement – Special Session of World Health Assembly on Pandemic Treaty
Published on: 24 November 2021
IFPMA welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Special Session of the World Health Assembly in this unique and unprecedented moment to take lessons learned from fighting COVID-19 into tackling future global health crises. The COVID response has revealed to all the value of the rapid development and manufacture of vaccines and treatments, the importance of true multistakeholder collaboration, the power of regulatory cooperation and the importance of vaccine confidence and trust in public health officials. We also acknowledge that much more needs to be done to ensure equitable and fair distribution and access of pandemic products around the world. Vaccine supply continues to expand and we are committed to playing our part in improving equitable access.
However, we are concerned that some of the focus of discussions throughout this pandemic have, whilst being well-intentioned, the potential to detract from the real issues and undermine the successes we have achieved together. Weakened IP in future pandemics will undoubtedly lead to a decline in R&D and impede the ability to collaborate that is essential to the COVID-19 response. Complex negotiations between stakeholders around potential benefits will also hinder immediate and timely pathogen sharing, also undermining R&D efforts.
We view the Special Session as an important opportunity for governments to show leadership and to re-commit to increased global solidarity for the future and urge countries to focus on what matters most, such as building strong health systems, securing sustainable financing, ensuring effective pandemic procurement and continuing to build and foster regulatory agility and harmonization.
The private sector is crucial to developing and scaling-up diagnostics, vaccines and therapies for pandemics. Industry should be an active participant in collaborative efforts to design a fit-for-purpose global health crisis infrastructure informed by our COVID-19 experience. Throughout the WGPR process, we have welcomed the inclusion of the private sector as a valued contributor through the role given to IFPMA to actively attend, and hope that the private sector will continue to be part of any negotiation process launched after the World Health Assembly Special Session to provide constructive and meaningful input towards the creation of any pandemic response.
We are committed to working with governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to make sure that policies and plans are developed in a way that achieves the effective response the world requires to tackle any future pandemic.