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Compliance and Accountability Mechanisms in the 2024 Revisions to the WHO International Health Regulations (2005)

Since the COVID-19 virus first emerged in China in late 2019 there have been many high-level reviews of how the world could better have tackled this devastating episode, including the report of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) report “Make it the Last Pandemic” co-chaired by Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. EJIL: Talk! has previously featured various commentaries on the application of the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) in the COVID-19 pandemic and States’ accountability in relation to disease outbreak notification and control including States’ Duties to Prevent and Halt the Coronavirus Outbreak, whether Justified Border Closures violated the International Health Regulations as suggested in The Lancet, and whether there should be an International Commission of Inquiry for COVID-19. Arguably, however, it is ensuring countries’ capacities across all realms of pandemic preparedness that remains most important and should be the subject of overarching international accountability machinery. On 1 June 2024, the World Health Assembly (WHA) finally adopted negotiated changes to the IHR in…

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“We’re In This for the Long Haul”: The End of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern Due to COVID-19

Last Friday, 5 May 2023, acting upon advice from an Emergency Committee, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared under Article 12 of the International Health Regulations (IHR) of 2005 that the spread of COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The emergency had been active since…

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Editorial Correction

This post was published in error, instead of a new post by Prof. Bartolini. The post on the pandemic was published on EJIL: Talk! already in 2020, and can be found here. Many apologies to Prof. Bartolini and our readers. The new post will be published shortly.

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Equitable Access Contracts: Building Blocks of a Future Global Vaccine Strategy

Introduction   Due to the major legal gaps revealed in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, in December 2021, WHO member states decided to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to negotiate a new agreement on pandemic preparedness and response. On 5-7 December 2022 the INB held its third meeting, at which a…

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What Does the Monkeypox Outbreak Tell Us about Global Health Governance? Critical Remarks on the New WHO Declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern

On 23 July 2022, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) declared that the outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (“PHEIC”). Under Art. 1 of the 2005 International Health Regulations (“IHRs”), a PHEIC means “an extraordinary event which is determined […] (i) to…

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