Global Health Governance – IHR [International Health Regulations] Review

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IHR Review

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 27 August 2020
27 August 2020
…Last month I announced the establishment of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, to evaluate the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has been an acid test for many countries and organizations, as well as for the International Health Regulations, the legal instrument agreed by countries that governs preparedness and response for health emergencies.

Even before the pandemic, I have spoken about how emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC have demonstrated that some elements of the IHR may need review, including the binary nature of the mechanism for declaring a public health emergency of international concern.

The International Health Regulations allow for a review committee to be established to evaluate the functioning of the IHR and to recommend changes to it.

Earlier today I informed WHO’s Member States that I plan to establish an IHR Review Committee to advise me on whether any changes to the IHR may be necessary to ensure this powerful tool of international law is as effective as possible.

The committee will be made up of independent experts, who will examine various aspects of the IHR.

Although the review committee’s remit is specific to the IHR, it will communicate with the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and with the Independent Oversight Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, to exchange information and share findings.

Depending on the progress it makes, the committee will present a progress report to the resumed World Health Assembly in November, and a full report to next year’s Assembly in May.

WHO is committed to ending the pandemic, and to working with all countries to learn from it, and to ensure that together we build the healthier, safer, fairer world that we want.