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W.H.O. Pushes to Seal Global Pandemic Treaty as Closed-Door Talks Conclude

Simon Kent

The World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) drive to seal a global pandemic treaty will conclude Friday after weeks of closed-door talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

The hard stop of next week’s annual gathering of the U.N. subsidiary’s 194 member states is drawing closer which is why a deal is wanted sooner rather than later by organizers.

The health bureaucrats steering the talks must report back to the World Health Assembly — the W.H.O.’s supreme decision-making body — regardless of whether or not they have a finalised text for the assembly to consider, AFP reports.

Civil society groups following the talks from outside the meeting hall seem less than enthused an agreement will be forthcoming.

“They are negotiating, enthusiastically fighting for a speedy conclusion — but it’s not happening,” K. M. Gopakumar, senior researcher with the Third World Network, told AFP.

Giving the talks very little chance of successfully concluding on time, he said he thought countries would likely press for discussions to continue and hold talks about more talks further down the line.

Critics have already accused the organization of bureaucratic overreach in pushing to seize control of how the world responds to any future pandemic along the lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

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