The International Health Regulation (2005) and the 75th World Health Assembly: Saved by Africa and BRICS Countries
Where We Are At – A Downward Trajectory
We are rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of the infamous inflexion point that divided our nation. The government has now done a U-turn on the vaccine and mask mandates and it is likely, given the pressure on New Zealand businesses, the private sector will follow, saving many the agonising decision of whether to inject themselves yet again with an intervention that does not prevent covid but may damage the immune system and potentially cause irreparable harm.
Reports from the UK show that it is progressing along a trajectory of recovery, at least with respect to the pandemic and its unprecedented measures. The picture seems more mixed in the other commonwealth nations and the United States. Here in New Zealand the recovery curve appears stunted as much of the population still hasn’t broken its entrainment and is oblivious to what is unfolding in the world at large.
We have seen a single revealing inconsistency that may signify a shift in the prevailing narrative. The sudden flurry of unsubstantiated and callow “hit pieces” which have been directed at prominent members of a community in search of scientific truth seems out of place. So why is it happening now? This is perhaps a sign that somewhere the message is starting to penetrate the façade. It’s a strange phenomenon watching journalists sacrifice their professional standards and journalistic integrity in the pursuit of character assassination at any cost.
It’s a development that we have rarely seen in this country and it harbours the morbid stench of desperation.
The shallow, slanderous and vexatious attack directed at Dr Guy Hatchard has been a great disappointment and has once again confirmed that the media, irrespective of its shade, will only ask questions as long they remain within certain clearly demarcated boundaries. The brash and dismissive rhetoric of the offending organisation, while perhaps marketable, does little to answer important questions for the people of New Zealand. Its trademark tone and blunted lowbrow tenor are a poor substitute for the candid yet courteous discussions that once took place between inquiring minds engaged in the pursuit of truth.
Leveraging a Small International Concession at The World Health Assembly
While it is all too easy to focus on the downward trajectory of the last two years, it is at times important to reflect upon the small concessions that have been achieved as humanity pushes back against this leviathan.
In the weeks preceding the 75th World Health Assembly (22nd-28th of May 2022) NZDSOS wrote several articles placing the World Health Organisation (WHO) under the microscope and probing it’s funding mechanisms, agenda and prior indiscretions. Much of our discussion was focused on the pandemic preparedness treaty and the sweeping powers that could be granted to the WHO under its auspices.
The decision of the United States to advance the WHO agenda through its proposed amendments to the existing international health framework, the International Health Regulations (2005) brought a measure of urgency to the 75th World Health Assembly. In its submission the United States, proposed amendments to the following articles of IHR (2005). Articles 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 48, 49, 53, 59.
The proposed amendments carried a concerning common thread, in that they tended to confer a reduced consideration of the perspective of the affected state party in the event of a health emergency of international concern, placing them directly under the explicit guidance of the WHO. Given a little consideration, it easy to determine the mechanisms through which the proposed amendments might limit the autonomy and independence of signatory states.
Despite all of the build-up, the 75th World Assembly came and then went with little fanfare, an event without incident, conspicuous only in its absence from the reports of global media outlets. So, what was it that led to the muted reporting of such an important global event? The Washington Post had pre-framed the event with the expectation that it would be clouded by conspiracy theories, filtering its narrative through the tinted lens of partisan politics.
Certainly, concerns were raised about the competence of the WHO and the speed at which it is moving to consolidate its authority. It seems that these quite legitimate questions are being deterred through an orchestrated attempt to consign them to the realm of conspiracy theory.
While our western leaders did all they could to advance the agenda, the proposed amendments to IHR (2005) were opposed by Botswana speaking on behalf of 47 Afro nations. The African nations had reservations about the proposed amendments to IHR (2005), stating that the process should not be “fast tracked” and that any changes should be postponed and presented as part of a “wholistic package” at a later date. Malaysia and Iran also voiced reservations about the proposed amendments, while Russia and Brazil, of BRICS signalled an intention to leave the WHO.
It’s an important concession, as it has postponed the WHO’s rushed attempt to use its own chaotic pandemic response to consolidate its power. It has created breathing space and has provided a window of opportunity to raise awareness in preparation to oppose the more pervasive and definitive WHO pandemic preparedness treaty.
The Pandemic Preparedness treaty is currently in draft form and resides with an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB). It is anticipated that a progress report will be presented at the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023 and on the current timeline, the final outcome will be submitted for consideration at the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024.