World Health Assembly – Special Session  

World Health Assembly – Special Session

WHASS2: Special session of the World Health Assembly referred to in decision WHA74(16)
29 November – 1 December 2021
Geneva, Switzerland | Virtual event

WHASS2 Documents [at 4 Dec 2021]

:: Statements submitted by Member States and other participants at the Second special session of the World Health Assembly.
:: Statements by non-State actors in official relations with WHO at the WHO governing bodies meetings

 

Decisions
The World Together: Establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating body to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
SSA2(5) 1 December 2021 :: 2 pages
The Second special session of the World Health Assembly,
:: Recalling resolution WHA74.7 and decision WHA74(16), and welcoming the report of the Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies (WGPR),1

:: Expressing appreciation for the ongoing work of the WGPR under resolution WHA 74.7, including to identify the tools to implement the recommendations that fall under the technical work of WHO and further develop proposals to strengthen the International Health Regulations (IHR (2005)) including potential targeted IHR (2005) amendments, and elements that may most effectively be addressed in other venues;

:: Acknowledging the need to address gaps in preventing, preparing for, and responding to health emergencies, including in development and distribution of, and unhindered, timely and equitable access to, medical countermeasures such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as strengthening health systems and their resilience with a view to achieving UHC;

:: Emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and coherent approach to strengthen the global health architecture, and recognizing the commitment of Member States to develop a new instrument for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response with a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, prioritizing the need for equity;

:: Stressing that Member States should guide their efforts to develop such an instrument by the principle of solidarity with all people and countries, that should frame practical actions to deal with both causes and consequences of pandemics and other health emergencies.

 

1. DECIDES:
(1) to establish, in accordance with Rule 41 of its Rules of Procedure, an intergovernmental negotiating body open to all Member States and Associate Members2 (the “INB”) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with a view to adoption under Article 19, or under other provisions of the WHO Constitution as may be deemed appropriate by the INB;

(2) that the first meeting of the INB shall be held no later than 1 March 2022, in order to elect two co-chairs, reflecting a balance of developed and developing countries, and four vice-chairs, one from each of the six WHO regions, and to define and agree on its working methods and timelines, consistent with this decision and based on the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, efficiency, Member State leadership and consensus;

(3) that as part of its working methods, the INB shall determine an inclusive Member State led process, to be facilitated by the co-chairs and vice-chairs, to first identify the substantive elements of the instrument and to then begin the development of a working draft to be presented, on the basis of progress achieved, for the consideration of the INB at its second meeting, to be held no later than 1 August 2022, at the end of which the INB will identify the provision of the WHO Constitution under which the instrument should be adopted in line with paragraph 1(1);

(4) that the process referred to in paragraph 1(3) should be informed by evidence and should take into account the discussions and outcomes of the Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies, considering the need for coherence and complementarity between the process of developing the new instrument and the ongoing work under resolution WHA74.7, particularly with regard to implementation and strengthening of the IHR (2005);

(5) that the INB shall submit its outcome for consideration by the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly [2024], with a progress report to the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly;

 

2. REQUESTS the Director-General to support the INB by:
(1) convening its first meeting no later than 1 March 2022, and subsequent meetings at the request of the co-chairs as frequently as necessary;
(2) holding public hearings, in line with standard WHO practice, prior to the second meeting of the INB to inform its deliberations;
(3) facilitating the participation, to the extent the INB so decides, in accordance with relevant Rules of Procedure and resolutions and decisions of the Health Assembly, of representatives of organizations of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations with which WHO has established effective relations, Observers, representatives of non-State actors in official relations with WHO, and of other relevant stakeholders and experts as decided by the INB, recognizing the importance of broad engagement to ensure a successful outcome;
(4) providing the INB with the necessary services and facilities for the performance of its work, including complete, relevant and timely information and advice.

Fifth plenary meeting, 1 December 2021 SSA2/SR/5

 

::::::

WHO Director-General’s closing remarks at the Special Session of the World Health Assembly
Speech
01 December 2021
[Excerpts]
…I thank you for the overwhelming support expressed by Member States for the need for a new accord on pandemic preparedness and response.
I welcome the decision you have adopted today, to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with a view to adoption under Article 19, or under other provisions of the WHO Constitution as may be deemed appropriate by the intergovernmental negotiating body.
I welcome your commitment to an inclusive, transparent and efficient process, led by Member States and based on consensus.
I welcome your commitment to hold the first meeting of the INB no later than the first of March 2022, and to submit its outcome for consideration to the World Health Assembly in 2024.
And I give you my commitment that the Secretariat will support this process…

I call on all Member States to choose to achieve our targets of vaccinating 40% of the population of every country by the end of this year, and 70% by the middle of next year.
I call on those countries that have already reached 70% to choose to swap your vaccine delivery schedules with COVAX and AVAT, as Switzerland has just done;
I call on all Member States to choose to remove every barrier to scaling up vaccine production, by sharing technology and know-how, and by supporting a waiver of intellectual property rights.
I call on those countries that have promised to donate vaccines to choose to make good on those promises, as urgently as possible.
I call on Member States to choose to fully fund the ACT Accelerator, which needs 23.4 billion U.S. dollars over the next 12 months to get tests, treatments and vaccines to where they are needed most.
I call on every Member State to choose a comprehensive, tailored, layered combination of proven public health and social measures to reduce transmission, reduce the pressure on your health systems, and save lives.
I call on all Member States to focus on strengthening and optimizing clinical pathways, from primary to intensive care, ensuring the right patient get the right care at the right time, and that health workers are supported and protected while doing their life-saving work.
I call on all Member States to intensify and target risk communication, strengthen community engagement, empowerment and support, addressing community concerns, combatting misinformation and building trust.
I call on every Member State to choose to increase surveillance, testing, sequencing and reporting, and to refrain from penalizing countries that do, in compliance with the International Health Regulations.
And I call on all Member States to choose to commit to strengthening your WHO, especially by supporting the proposals of the Working Group on Sustainable Financing.

We are one humanity. We have one planet. We have one health. And we have one WHO. Your WHO.

1 Document SSA2/3.
2 And regional economic integration organizations as appropriate.