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WHO’s One Health Surveillance: The New Frontier of Global Pandemic Management

WHO's One Health Surveillance

The most recent version of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) proposed international pandemic treaty has been made public. If the treaty is ratified, it will provide the WHO with the authority to conduct all-encompassing monitoring.

The treaty stipulates that the 194 member states of the WHO, which account for almost all of the countries in the world, must work together to improve the One Health surveillance systems.

One Health is an effort of the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to “optimize the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems” and to make advantage of the interdependent linkages that exist between these disciplines in order to develop innovative techniques of disease prevention and surveillance. According to the fact sheet on One Health published by the (WHO), the Covid-19 epidemic has brought to light the necessity of a global framework for enhanced surveillance and has provided the WHO with a further rationale for expanding its One Health strategy.

According to the text of the treaty, member nations are required to strengthen their monitoring capacities for the purpose of investigating and controlling outbreaks by linking their early warning and alarm systems. Additionally, it acknowledges the World Health Organization as the primary and coordinating authority on worldwide health initiatives in a variety of sectors including pandemic prevention and response, recovery, and the creation of scientific evidence.

Even though particular techniques like contact tracing, testing, and vaccination passports aren’t mentioned in the treaty, the World Health Organization has already voiced its support for vaccine passports in public statements. Additionally, the group has in the past lauded China’s COVID reaction, which was predicated on extensive digital monitoring, but it has more recently been critical of the country’s zero-COVID policy.

Since December 2021, the text of the treaty has been in the process of being developed, and it is anticipated that it will be given to the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the body that makes decisions for the WHO, in May 2024. In the event that it is approved, the treaty will be enforced in accordance with Article 19 of the WHO Constitution. This provision grants the organization the authority to enforce legally binding conventions in the event that representatives from two-thirds of the member states vote in favor of them.

This WHO process allows a small group of global representatives, who are frequently unelected diplomats, to enforce international laws on all of its member states. This is in contrast to the legislative process that is used in many democratic countries, in which elected officials are responsible for passing national laws.

Despite the fact that there are politicians who are opposed to this treaty, it has received support from many influential nations, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and the European Council, which represents the 27 member states of the European Union.

This pact is only one of several global monitoring plans with links to the WHO that are being supported by powerful persons all around the world at the present time. During the Business (B20) 2022 conference, which brought together business executives from a Group of 20 (G20) countries, a number of countries came to an agreement on the creation of a digital health passport that would adhere to WHO standards and track vaccination and testing status.

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