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The WHO pandemic treaty: dead but not buried

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus remained confident that a deal would be reached. Credit: Getty

May 28, 2024 - 10:00am

As the World Health Assembly began this week in Geneva, it was announced that member states had failed to reach agreement on a new, legally binding pandemic treaty.

Despite not reaching the deadline after more than two years of negotiations, the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, remained confident that the 194 member states would eventually reach an agreement, perhaps in six to 12 months. Health diplomats are also confident that amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) — a parallel set of global governance rules, including a new tiered system to declare a pandemic — will go ahead this week. We will have to wait and see.

Front and centre in the failure of the treaty this week were disputes between the Global North and South regarding pathogen sharing and access to the new tests, treatments and vaccines that would be developed by the pharmaceutical industry in the event of a new pandemic. This rekindled longstanding neocolonial sentiments, especially among African countries, concerned that access to pharmaceutical products would be dependent on fulfilling treaty obligations.

Recent analyses have also shown that, to meet basic targets of the treaty, developing countries would need to heavily invest in pandemic preparedness and response to the tune of some $31 billion per year. This level of financing would take away vital budgets from existing health systems and skewed national priorities. Is this really in the best interest of developing countries?

Other criticisms of the treaty have come from US and UK conservatives. Senate Republicans recently called for the Biden administration to reject the treaty and shift focus to “comprehensive WHO reforms that address its persistent failures without expanding its authority”. With US elections set for November, negotiators in Geneva are well aware that Donald Trump may withdraw from the WHO if elected, as he did in 2020. In the UK, Nigel Farage also came out against the treaty, expressing concern about future WHO-supported lockdowns: “The WHO can be a force for good in the world, but only if it returns to its noble principles and core objectives.”

Yet the WHO has vehemently rejected any concerns about the treaty infringing on “national sovereignty”, previously calling them “fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories”. Mainstream news outlets — from the New York Times to Reuters — have reiterated these talking points. Recent articles in Health Policy Watch called for critics, or rather “spreaders of disinformation”, to be treated like an “organised crime” network. Any legitimate criticism is unwelcome.

Those in global health leadership want bolder steps to manage the “infodemic”. But advocates of the treaty have regularly engaged in misinformation themselves. Take, for example, a recent video from former UK prime minister Gordon Brown, now WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing. In the video, Brown makes the bold claim that “the world needs agreement on the pandemic accord” since “no one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe everywhere”. The latter statement is a perfect illustration of the propaganda tools used by governments in the name of “health” during Covid: utopian, illogical, and Orwellian.

The negotiations and media framing of them, therefore, represent the cultural ethos of biosecurity, which prioritises “making the world safer” (security) over all other values and, given our collective experiences during Covid, basic principles of logic and Western democratic norms.

The WHO is also, this week, seeking an unprecedented increase of its budget by $7 billion over four years to respond to crises. Yet the organisation has failed to conduct a serious post-mortem of the failures of the Covid pandemic response. Instead, media outlets and health authorities complain about “mistrust” and “populism” without any mention of the harms of vaccine mandates and coercive and ineffective lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, and other Covid measures. We must march forward into a global treaty, no questions asked.

Yet this problem is now systemic in global public health. Many preeminent Covid evaluation reports are deeply flawed. A recent paper called the UK Royal Society’s assessment, published last year, “irrelevant and weak from a methodological point of view but also dangerously misleading in terms of policymaking. This is how misinformation occurs.”

Many countries, the UK and US included, are still in the process of evaluating their Covid response. Others have none planned. It seems more than reasonable that the global public health community should first be obliged to take a serious, evidence-based look at just how wrong the experts got it from 2020-22. But to do that, we need the WHO to be less concerned about fighting “conspiracy theorists” and “far-Right nationalists” and more concerned about earning back the trust of the world’s public. It will be a long road ahead.


Kevin Bardosh is a research professor and Director of Research for Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to understanding the collateral impacts of Covid policies worldwide.

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Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
26 days ago

As I see it the WHO (and other supra-national bodies no doubt) seem to be mainly focused on increasing their income and power with little sense of effectiveness.
There is no governance and no accountability. Playing power politics with no mandate except bullying and an autocratic “my view is the right view” mentality.
An anti-thesis to any nod to democracy. Just another win for the globalists.

Tessa B
Tessa B
26 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Recent articles in Health Policy Watch called for critics, or rather “spreaders of disinformation”, to be treated like an “organised crime” network. Any legitimate criticism is unwelcome.
Following the Health Policy Watch hyperlink, takes you to what some have called a “hit piece” on those who are asking questions about the WHO (granted that some questions will be better researched than others).The actual sentence reads

‘Treat disinformation like organised crime’

Justin Arenstein, CEO of Code for Africa, argues that the best defence against disinformation is to target covert actors and deliberately deceptive behaviour.

“Rather than pumping billions of dollars into endless literacy initiatives that have questionable or partial impacts at best, let’s also put resources behind following the money so that we can better identify covert and criminal behaviour, and the shadowy bad actors who are pulling the strings,” Arenstein told a recent United Nations Information Committee meeting on information integrity…..

https://healthpolicy-watch.news/anti-who-convoy-heads-to-geneva/
So plenty of food for thought.
Read about Code for Africa. Note Gates (incidentally, Alison McDowell a researcher in the US thinks there is too much focus on Gates and mentions others in a recent post on her blog Wrench in the Gears).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_for_Africa

In 2015, Code for Africa received $4.7m from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund data projects in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania on health and development journalism.[6]

The wiki entry is of concern and opens up more for discussion and research.
NB Note sponsors Code for America: https://codeforamerica.org/about-us/our-supporters/
The Health Policy Watch “hit piece” also goes into detail about the Brownstone Institute (“conspiracy theorists” and “far-Right nationalists”).
Incidentally, the Brownstone Institute website has a couple of opinion pieces that I found interesting.
https://brownstone.org/articles/regulatory-science-as-propaganda/
https://brownstone.org/articles/pandemic-preparedness-coming-to-a-country-near-you/

The US Government will be paying 100 countries to implement “pandemic preparedness.” This will include many of the awful provisions in the treaty and amendments, ho ho ho.

Please note “One Health”:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Global-Health-Security-Strategy-2024-1.pdf
Control find “One Health”.
Meryl Nass
https://merylnass.substack.com/p/why-does-the-who-demand-10-billion
https://www.linkedin.com/posts/the-epoch-times_why-the-whos-new-plan-should-worry-everyone-activity-7128199676494802944-dXGl

“There will be control of agriculture, food, energy
They’re already talking in documents of the World Bank, the G20, the EU, they’re talking about global governance. So I think that’s where they hope this is going.”

NB Epoch Times
https://healthpolicy-watch.news/anti-who-convoy-heads-to-geneva/

Epoch Times “has become a key media source for COVID-sceptic and anti-vaccine movements in France, Italy and Spain,” according to openDemocracy. It was the major funder of Trump advertisements over six months in 2019 outside of his presidential election campaign, NBC found.

NB OpenDemocray on UnHerd and UnHerd on OpenDemocracy
https://unherd.com/newsroom/investigative-journalism-is-reaching-breaking-point/
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/legatum-who-are-brexiteers-favourite-think-tank-and-who-is-behind-them/
NB Desmog on Michael Shellenberger
https://www.desmog.com/michael-shellenberger/
https://www.desmog.com/alliance-for-responsible-citizenship-arc/
Westminster Declaration https://westminsterdeclaration.org/
So we have differing opinions, plenty of disagreement, plenty of food for thought and the option to engage in further discussion, research and checking.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
26 days ago

All such treaties are designed to favour the PRC’s export sector of ’emergency’ medical equipment.
They alone (the CCP) appear to sponsor the WHO, but they do so with the support of the US medical establishment and their corporate pharma backers.

El Uro
El Uro
26 days ago

Recent articles in Health Policy Watch called for critics, or rather “spreaders of disinformation”, to be treated like an “organised crime” network. Any legitimate criticism is unwelcome.
.
Well, yes, of course, the WHO mafia will not tolerate competitors

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
26 days ago

The concerns about the pandemic policies in the proposals were more widespread than this article suggests.
They required the UK to do as the protocol required.
Worth recalling the WHO pandemic policies were changed rapidly, often without evidence-based cause in 2020 during Covid.

Terry M
Terry M
26 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Dudgeon

Yet the WHO has vehemently rejected any concerns about the treaty infringing on “national sovereignty”, previously calling them “fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories”
WHO should be completely disbanded. The fake news comes from them. The treaty most certainly infringes on national sovereignty – it’s legally binding!
I am hoping Trump withdraws from WHO on Jan 20, 2025 and puts in place a mechanism that will hobble any later attempts to rejoin.

Archibald Tennyson
Archibald Tennyson
26 days ago

These are the same people who shut down churches in the pandemic, saying the Eucharist could transmit disease.
As the coming years unfold, we will see that the Eucharist is our only medicine against the poison disseminated by these false prophets.
Lord help us all.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
26 days ago

No, we will not “see” what you suggest. And why? Because there’s nothing in your prognostications to be seen.
Rather than resorting to the “Lord”, we’ll just have to work things out for ourselves. We either do, or we don’t; there’s no external party involved. Further, even thinking there might be is dangerous, since it’s requiring someone (or something) else to do the work.

Archibald Tennyson
Archibald Tennyson
26 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
26 days ago

Brown makes the bold claim that “the world needs agreement on the pandemic accord” since “no one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe everywhere”
Spoken like a true totalitarian.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
26 days ago

Is this really in the best interest of developing countries?
Of course, not. You know what else is not in their interest? All the climate rules that are being pushed, rules that officials in the West are insistent on foisting onto their people no matter the cost. People in developing countries understand that the green agenda is a no-growth agenda that purposely seeks to limit or eliminate the abundant, accessible, and affordable energy sources that allowed the West to flourish.
Now they see health rules designed to further encroach on their sovereignty from a body with absolutely no self-awareness and a steadfast refusal to confront its own mistakes during Covid, though that’s the point. The WHO and its water carriers do not think mistakes were made. In the US, they’re still pushing the vaccine. Here and elsewhere, the lockdowns are still defended. Of course, there is “mistrust.” The so-called experts proved themselves untrustworthy.

Tessa B
Tessa B
26 days ago

See Meryl Nass substack and get her side of the story. Health Policy Watch have their own agenda….keep testing and re-testing.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
26 days ago

These international organizations were a disingenuous attempt by the USA to project American authority and promote America’s interests during the cold war and immediately after. Now they’ve been infiltrated by the Chinese and are being used by them for the same purpose. They weren’t very effective in the first place and their only effectiveness now comes from the influence of misguided globalist idealists. It’s time to drop these international alphabet organizations. They were a bad idea when the US basically controlled these organizations and they’re even worse now that we don’t.

Tessa B
Tessa B
26 days ago

“But to do that, we need the WHO to be less concerned about fighting “conspiracy theorists” and “far-Right nationalists” and more concerned about earning back the trust of the world’s public. It will be a long road ahead.”

Question to the author “Do you believe that the WHO could be reformed if the corporate corruption and private conflicts of interests were removed?”

ï»ż

Now we need to check “Collateral Global”. Charity?

“Kevin Bardosh is a research professor and Director of Research for Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to understanding the collateral impacts of Covid policies worldwide.”

Tessa B
Tessa B
26 days ago

Health Policy Watch have their own agenda. Supported by Wellcome Trust.
Article hyperlink, Justin Arenstein, CEO of Code for Africa, apparently made the comment “that the best defence against disinformation is to target covert actors and deliberately deceptive behaviour”. Not sure quite what he is up to but it’s fine to ask legitimate questions. His comments should be cause for concern. So what are his motivations and why does he not think it is OK to ask legitimate questions? What does he mean “target”?
Interesting read:
https://unherd.com/2023/03/how-the-who-was-captured/ Thomas Fazi.

Chipoko
Chipoko
25 days ago

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – the overpaid imbecile who appointed Comrade Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador! [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-41702662]
The UN and its constituent bodies like WHO should be terminated as they’ve contributed nothing to world peace or wellbeing. How can it be taken seriously when it appoints genocidal monsters like Mugabe to such positions of prominence?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
23 days ago

How about banning ‘gain of function’ research that involves making harmful viruses even more harmful?