Map of the Month

Consensus toward a WHO convention at the WHA and interested states for the pilot study for the UHPR.

by Dr. Olaf Wientzek, Rosa Ann Seidler

Map of the Month 12/2021

This week, WHO member states have gathered at the second World Health Assembly Special Session and adopted a critical decision that will launch negotiations for a WHO convention, agreement or other instrument for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. The second map shows the 14 countries that expressed interest in piloting the Universal Health and Preparedness Review, a periodic peer-review modeled after the Universal Periodic Review for human rights situations under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. (more below)

This week, WHO member states have gathered at the second World Health Assembly Special Session and adopted a critical decision that will launch negotiations for a WHO convention, agreement or other instrument for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

This agreement at the special session from the 29th November to the 1st of December was preceded by highly contentious and political debates, with some skeptics pushing to reform the existing International Health Regulations and others fearing unproportional targeting of the low and middle-income countries. Proponents see a potential agreement as an important way to address shortcomings in the handling of this pandemic and a means to create more equity, especially regarding the allocation of medical countermeasures such as vaccines.

While Member States have very different positions on what such an agreement should entail and its potential legal framework, the vote in favour of drafting a proposal shows acknowledgment of the gaps in preventing, preparing for, and responding to health emergencies and an opportunity to strengthen multilateralism.


The second map shows the 14 countries that expressed interest in piloting the Universal Health and Preparedness Review, a periodic peer-review modeled after the Universal Periodic Review for human rights situations under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council.

The idea echoed in recommendations by COVID-19 response review committees is a mechanism whereby countries review each other and publish their health preparedness capacities. Such a process would add value through increased accountability and solidarity and ensure that pandemic preparedness is acted upon at the highest political level. It would also support the exchange of information, sharing of expertise & technical assistance. This pilot stage is very important as its lessons will inform the draft decision for the universal rollout of the UHPR. The different profiles of the depicted states show the broad interest in such a mechanism.