STOPAIDS’ statement on the Zero Draft at the INB briefing

The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) convened with stakeholders yesterday to brief on the development, approach and structure of the Zero Draft of the pandemic accord, published on the 1st February, and to share a proposal from the Bureau regarding the modalities for the fourth meeting of the INB, scheduled to take place in late February.

STOPAIDS attended the briefing and provided the following statement:

We welcome the zero draft and thank the INB for their work, and will briefly comment on three key points:

First we welcome today’s discussion and the opportunity to share feedback. We request that the INB also invites civil society to attend all INB meetings, including meetings of the drafting group(s), with opportunities to contribute on both procedural issues and substantive content of the treaty, as well as implementation and follow-up measures to ensure accountability. In addition we request a transparent accreditation and registration process for organisations to apply directly to WHO to be listed in Annex E of the modalities of engagement for relevant stakeholders (replacing the current requirement of Member State nomination).

Second, we are pleased that equity remains core within the text. We are concerned, however, that the text does not make commitments that move beyond the status quo and therefore will not meaningfully improve equitable access to pandemic countermeasures. The instrument must require governments to take specific measures including actions to share technology and knowledge, the removal of IP barriers, and investment into increased local production capacity. Language such as ‘as appropriate’ or ‘encourage’ does not hold member states and relevant stakeholders accountable to concrete, and necessary actions to improve access. The text must make clear what actions are mandatory and ensure accountability to these commitments.

Lastly, we support references within the draft text to a model of common but differentiated responsibilities. However, this is not substantiated within the text and we would like clarification on how this will be operationalised. In particular, we seek clarification on how member states will be categorised and what additional obligations some may be responsible to fulfil.

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