The World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to launch negotiations on an international pact to prevent and control future pandemics when the world is gearing up to battle the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Such an agreement to beef up measures to prevent and fight pandemics is expected to be ready in May 2024, covering issues from data sharing and genome sequencing of emerging viruses to potential vaccines and drugs derived from research.
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Wednesday’s decision was adopted by consensus at a special ministerial assembly of the 194 nations members of the UN health body, drawing applause from delegations at the end of a three-day meeting.
“The text before us is the product of extensive discussions, of frank exchanges and compromises,” said Australia’s ambassador Sally Mansfield, who co-chaired the working group.
“Let us move forward together in solidarity to do the hard work that we have ahead of us.”
The European Union (EU) had pushed for agreement on an international legally binding treaty, along with about 70 countries, but Brazil, India and the United States were among those reluctant to commit to such a pact, diplomats said.