We note with alarm certain recommendations by the USA for amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding the management of future pandemics. The amendments are set to be adopted at the WHO’s 75th World Health Assembly Meeting being held from Sunday, May 22, 2022, to Saturday, May 28, 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.
In particular, the draft Articles 12, 13, 48, 49 and 53 of the captioned recommendations are of greatest concern.
Adoption of these amendments will result, in essence, in the individual member states of the WHO, including Guyana, ceding their sovereignty in relation to the management of public health emergencies of international concern to the Secretariat of the WHO and in particular, the Director General of the WHO, who are all unelected and foreign individuals.
We view this as wholly unsatisfactory and urgently request the Government of Guyana to reject these proposals. We recommend that the Government of Guyana examine the deliberations of the WHO’s own Review Committee, which has initially found that the existing IHR (2005) was entirely adequate for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and that any deficiencies in executing the protocols of the 2005 Regulations were due to the “unawareness” and non-compliance on the part of both the WHO and the Member States.
This recommendation represents an appropriate alternative that will both serve the best interest of the people of Guyana and retain our national sovereignty.
Moreover, the Review Committee on the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) clearly stated that as it reviewed the IHR, article by article, it “found that much of what is in the Regulations is well-considered, appropriate and meaningful in any public health emergency of international concern” and as such that there be no changes in the regulations.
(ANNEX Report of the Review Committee on the Functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 response. Final Draft, 30th April, 2021 Annex A74/9 Add.1 Page 7)
Finally, surrendering our national sovereignty to the WHO Secretariat and its Director General, as proposed by the USA, is even more concerning in light of the fact that it is unclear whether the countries that followed the WHO’s recommendations for managing the COVID-19 pandemic experienced the best outcomes.