The fourth meeting of the Working Group for International Health Regulations (WGIHR) took place July 24-28 2023.
Below are selected clips and commentary.
WGIHR Repository at Door to Freedom (backup of all public materials to date)
Opening Session: July 24 2023
These meetings take place in obscure, bureaucratic, semi-coded language and it is easy to overlook or misunderstand the subtext of the discussion, especially for an outsider. But, with careful listening and review, the nuances show their form.
The tensions are mostly split on economic blocks, with the Global South insisting that the updated IHR must “operationalize equity” and the Global North (as represented by Pharma interests) insisting on compliance and genetic information sharing.
It is no wonder that several participants have noted the scope of these proposed amendments goes far beyond the “targeted amendments” of their mandate (A75/9), and voice concern that this could re-open the entire instrument for negotiation.
But the real jaw-dropper: Iran notes that they rejected the May 2022 amendments which reduce the period of time for review and adoption of amendments to the IHR. The co-chair from Saudi Arabia shows zero surprise at the mention of the rejection.
Did the WHO properly record and notify other states of this rejection?
WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES MIGHT HAVE ALREADY REJECTED THE AMENDMENTS?
Closing Session: July 28 2023
Ambassador Grata Endah Werdaningtyas of Indonesia is moving on from the WGIHR, and gives a short speech. She jokingly describes herself and Colin McIff, the delegate from the USA, as “the father and the mother of the two processes” (referring to the INB Pandemic Treaty drafting group, and the WGIHR Amendments drafting group)