A guide to a pandemic treaty - things you must know to help you make a decision on a pandemic treaty

The co-chair of the project on a pandemic treaty at the Global Health Centre in Geneva, Prof. Hauk Nikogosian has published A guide to a pandemic treaty - things you must know to help you make a decision on a pandemic treaty.  


Why this guide?

The preparatory work towards the special session of the WHA in late November 2021 to consider a treaty or other international instrument for pandemic preparedness and response continues to trigger questions and debates on the subject matter. Many reviews, discussions and publications so far point to the need for synthesis and clarity on various aspects, important for countries as they engage in the process.

The WHO’s only experience in negotiating and adopting an international convention (FCTC) dates back to the early 2000s, and the current generation of health diplomats and negotiators were largely not part of it. In addition, a future instrument on pandemics would be informed by international legal regimes existing in other fields, such as human rights, environment, trade and security, not sufficiently known in health circles. The presence of such a large body of international law relevant to health often alsoprompts questions on why the health domain itself is regulated by a handful legal instruments only, and why there is hesitation to international legal clarity even when it comes to confronting global health risks of this magnitude.

Questions also arise on issues such as terms in use, types of instruments available, processes before and after adoption of a prospective treaty, and specific issues such as financial mechanisms, compliance and monitoring, science-policy interface, relations with the existing IHR (2005) etc.

This guide therefore represents an independent academic attempt to systematise and shed light on some of the most frequently asked questions or issues otherwise important in the run up of the special session of the WHA, and potentially beyond. It is part of a project located at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva on options and benefits of a pandemic treaty, which includes also a series of policy briefs and articles by lead international figures and experts, a series of regional and stakeholder workshops, and a regularly updated one-stop shop website for various sources on governing pandemics in general and on a pandemic treaty in particular.


Structure of the guide:

The guide is divided into five chapters, all including various sub-chapters:


1) Rational, membership, institutions 

answering questions such as why is a treaty under consideration and what are the circumstances around it;

2) Lessons from history

looking back at older treaties and ther importance to the question;

3) Content

addressing the structure of treaties, above all the discussed one, in more detail;

4) Relations with other international instruments 

focusing especially on IHR, Nagoya Protocol and the PIP framework;

5) Process

elaborating on the process of the treaty creation.


To read more and get informed about pandemic preparedness, please click here


Full citation: Nikogosian, Haik (2021). A guide to a pandemic treaty - things you must know to help you make a decsion on a pandemic treaty. Global Health Centre, the Graduate Intitute of International and Development Studies. Switzerland: Geneva. Online available: https://www.graduateinstitute.ch/sites/internet/files/2021-09/guide-pandemic-treaty.pdf.





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