By Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: The World Health Assembly, comprised of the U.S. and 193 other member nations, will meet in Switzerland this month to consider an international agreement on how countries should prepare for future pandemics. A final draft would be ratified in 2024.
The controversy: The current draft of the document says the agreement would be “legally binding” on all member nations and recognizes the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the directing and coordinating authority on global health,” giving it the power to “declare pandemics.” Some say the text makes it seem that the WHO could order public health measures such as lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
The facts: The draft acknowledges that nations have “the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health… pursuant to their own policies and legislation.” The WHO says that the only way the provisions of the agreement would become “a matter of international law” is if member nations decide it as such. Pushing back, 17 Republican senators introduced legislation to require Senate approval for the agreement, knowing approval is unlikely.
The real issue: As it’s currently drafted, the pandemic agreement is mostly ceremonial and a list of policy priorities. But it still attempts to develop uniformity in how nations will respond to public health issues. Rather than reflecting on the effects of unprecedented lockdowns and mandates in response to COVID-19 and the flawed science behind them, world leaders still trust the recommendations of the WHO, which has a history of inaccuracies regarding the virus and is influenced by China.