Revised Draft of the WHO Pandemic Agreement falls short on human rights

PI published its comments on the Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement (13 March 2024) which will be discussed by the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) between 18 and 28 March 2024.

Key advocacy points

PI's comments on the Revised Draft include a range of recommendations, such as:

  • to reintroduce Privacy, data protection and confidentiality as a separate principle in Article 3;
  • to require in Article 14 that states undertake regular audits and evaluations of the use of technologies in the health sector and to ensure that the participation of private-sector entities in the efforts to prevent and address future pandemics are effectively regulated.
PI's comments on the revised draft of the Pandemic Agreement

In PI’s view the Revised Draft is a significant step back to the already weakened previous draft. Among the many concerns that we highlight in this analysis, we are particularly dismayed by the deletion of a principle on privacy, data protection and confidentiality in Article 3. In all previous drafts, the inclusion of such provision reflected the importance that data protection and privacy plays in any effective, modern public health policies. Failing to keep a specific principle on privacy and data protection in the Revised Draft sends the wrong message to Members States and third parties by implying that the well documented abuses of data exploitation during recent pandemics (including COVID-19) are not an issue worth preventing and addressing in future pandemics.

Further the Revised Draft fails to require effective regulation of the private-sector entities, including ensuring that safeguards (such as transparency, adequate procurement process, accountability, oversight and redress) are in place to mitigate the risks of human rights harm.