In December 2021, members of the World Health Assembly agreed to draft an agreement under the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen the world’s pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. The plan has been to develop a draft, accept comments and amendments during 2023, and sign it into law in 2024. For the record, The OP posted our grave concerns about this back in 2021.
An Intergovernmental Governing Body (IGB) has been drafting this document, and they will be accepting feedback from “relevant stakeholders” regarding the final draft, as well as the addition of amendments. There are about 220 relevant stakeholders participating in this. Not surprisingly, they include civil society, academic, and health groups; the pharmaceutical industry is also well-represented, along with agribusiness groups. Some of these negotiations have been open to the media. Many have not.
President Biden has supported this effort from the beginning, and American groups represent some of the relevant stakeholders.
Much ado has been made over this the past few weeks, with voices on the right saying it’s going to kill Americans and voices on the fact-checking left scoffing at all those conspiracy theorists who think the U.S. would sign over sovereignty to an international body.
Here’s what you need to know straight from the treaty draft itself.
So, what’s in this thing?
Let’s start off with the Zero Draft. This is public information readily available on WHO’s website. It’s about 30 pages long, so it’s readable. I’ll share some highlights.
Article 4, Section 3 states:
States have. . . the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health, notably pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems, pursuant to their own policies and legislation, provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to their peoples and other countries. (emphasis mine)
Who determines the damage threshold for when a nation loses its sovereignty? They don’t address that.
Article 10, Section 3h gets a lot of conservatives worked up.
It states that the WHO will receive 20% of pandemic related materials (vaccines, diagnostic tools, PPE, therapeutics) from wealthier countries for “equitable distribution” among poorer ones. And it involves “real-time” access, which means that the WHO will take their 20% when they want it, not when richer countries are ready to donate extra supplies.
Article 11, Section 4c addresses the need to strengthen and reinforce public health functions for surveillance using the One Health approach. One Health is a concept that gets addressed more thoroughly in Article 18.
Article 11 Section 4h addresses the need to create and maintain digital health and data science capacities. This translates to keeping everyone’s medical records online and readily available to health professionals. There are practical applications for this (like making sure people aren’t prescribed contra-indicated medications), but the privacy concerns are legitimate, too.
Article 15, Section 2 recognizes the WHO as the central authority, and gives the director general authority to declare pandemics. This means a director general in Europe could theoretically declare a pandemic in Southeast Asia without ever having set foot on the ground there. Incidentally, Southeast Asians see this potential, even though Americans may not. They’re concerned about it.
Article 17 is titled “Strengthening Pandemic and Public Health Literacy.” It discusses the need to tackle disinformation, particularly vaccine hesitancy. It also discusses the need to improve trust in science and government institutions.
What this really means is cracking down on dissenting voices.
Article 18 goes into a little more detail about the One Health approach. For the purposes of this draft, it means focusing on zoonotic (animal-to-human) disease transmission and strengthening surveillance systems that include animals as well as humans.
One Health refers to the notion that everything on earth is interconnected, and that the health of humans, plants, animals, fungi, bacteria all affect each other. This is true, but the practical application of One Health means giving public health bodies like the WHO oversight into animal husbandry practices. This is why agribusiness groups are listed as “relevant stakeholders” and have been part of the draft process.
Even though most mainstream sources now agree Covid originated in a laboratory, power-hungry types are still clinging to the threat of zoonotic diseases to justify reaching into ever more sectors of the worldwide economy. One Health is a way of using human health concerns as a pretext for world government bodies like the WHO to exercise control over livestock operations.
In Article 19, Section 1c, parties are expected to commit not less than 5% of current health expenditure to pandemic prevention.
This is another one that has conservatives up in arms. The U.S. spends far more on health than any country in the world; our public health expenditures in 2022 were over $4 trillion. American taxpayers would essentially be footing the bill for this new pandemic authority.
The money alone, I think, is reason enough for Americans to pay attention to this. Conservative lawmakers have been pitching an absolute fit about the financial obligations, along with the references scattered throughout the document about waiving patent protection for pharmaceutical companies.
Waiving patent protection means that Big Pharma won’t retain patents on any new treatments they develop; they will have to foot the bill for development, and then hand their research materials to other nations so that they can make their own pharmaceutical products. Big Pharma is furious about this part of the proposed treaty. Considering how many of their products get mandated by governments, though, I think they’ll survive.
And speaking of mandates, Article 22, Section 1 says that the first meeting of the WHO’s governing body will determine how to deal with noncompliance.
What does this mean for the average person?
Right now, there is a lot of finger-pointing at the tin-foil hat-wearers who think that this treaty will undermine American sovereignty. But look at the documents yourselves. This is in the process of turning into a legally binding agreement. On the WHO’s own webpage, they state that members will get to define “compliance mechanisms” for parties failing to meet their obligations.
In the widely-quoted AP article fact-checking the claim that the U.S. would be ceding sovereignty to the WHO if this passes, the author quotes the same piece from Article 4, Section 3 that I did above and uses it to say, “See? Everyone still has sovereignty!” They do not address the clause regarding damage at all.
The fact-checkers also claim that while the treaty will be “legally binding,” there will be no consequences for noncompliant states. There are no consequences for noncomplying states right now. The WHO hasn’t gotten to “compliance mechanisms” yet, but again, if you read their own website, they intend to.
This is a classic “You have to pass it to see what’s in it” ploy. They’re leaving things vague at the moment so they can reprimand who they want in the future.
And the Zero Draft referenced by the fact-checkers doesn’t include any of the proposed amendments. Obviously only some are available to the public right now, but we can view the ones proposed by the U.S. government here. They give the WHO much more power to simply show up in nations that are even suspected of harboring a pandemic. Language about taking individual states’ views into consideration is being removed (Article 10, Section 4).
The proposed amendments also shorten the review time for member states to accept amendments from 18 months to six. They force member states to make a decision within 48 hours of a potential emergency about collaborating with the WHO. The best decisions are not necessarily made under time crunches.
The WHO can make big decisions..and may soon be able to enforce them.
Fact-checking articles state that the Zero Draft says nothing about lockdowns, and so we have nothing to worry about. However, Article 21 of the WHO Constitution states that the Assembly can adopt resolutions on member states unless they expressly opt-out.
Their areas of enforcement include 1) sanitary and quarantine requirements for preventing the international spread of disease; 2) nomenclatures of diseases, causes of death, and public health practices; 3) standards for diagnostic procedures aimed at an international use; 4) standards ascertaining the safety, purity, and potency of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products in international trade; and 5) advertising and labeling of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products in international trade.
Number one sounds an awful lot like lockdowns to me.
Researchers are already complaining that the WHO needs regulatory teeth to enforce the treaty’s provisions. I think that, shortly after this passes in 2024, the WHO will get them.
Between the huge additional funding sources and the new powers granted to the WHO, we’re watching the birth of what the Brownstone Institute referred to as a “self-perpetuating pandemic industry.”
What does this mean for everyday Americans?
So, back to what this means for the average American.
First of all, with a minimum of 5% of our annual health expenditure going to a brand new bureaucracy, either our healthcare costs will go up, or our quality will go down. Or, most likely, we’ll see some combination thereof.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that we may see more pandemics after 2024. I hope I’m wrong about this one. But with the amount of money getting dumped into this, I think it’s only a matter of time. And with the increased crackdown on misinformation, as specified in Article 17 of the Zero Draft, I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to figure out what is actually happening.
Unfortunately, this is way beyond our control. And it’s just another step in a process that’s been going on for a long time. Power has been getting centralized over the last few decades. Gone are the days of personal relationships with a trusted family physician; the Affordable Care Act pushed private physicians into hospital systems, where they have far less freedom to treat each patient individually. Without access to trusted experts, it’s much harder for the average, not particularly scientifically-literate person to get good information.
Wading through legal documents might seem tedious, but it’s important to know what’s going on. Life’s definitely changed a lot post-Covid, but churches and schools have been open, and I’ve enjoyed the return to semi-normalcy. However, it’s important to understand that this may not last. It probably will not. Again, multi-billion dollar bureaucracies don’t get set up for nothing.
Republican politicians have legitimate complaints about the money Americans will be pouring into this, especially considering how unhealthy our own population is. However, I think it’s wrong to focus anger on other countries. A lot of low-income countries don’t necessarily want our pharmaceutical products or our boots on their ground. I think they’d like to be able to come to First World countries for advice without having to make binding commitments, but unfortunately, this is what the proposed treaty may stick them with.
Low-income nations are not the winners here. Nor are average Americans. The only winners will be the army of bureaucrats, as well as Big Pharma and PPE manufacturers. And, of course, the globalists at the center of it all.
What do you think about all this?
Are you for or against the WHO having so much control over American healthcare and policies? How do you think we’ll be affected by this? Is there any way for us to maintain our personal independence from such a system?
Let’s discuss it in the comments section.
About Marie Hawthorne
A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.