The 194 member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are to meet on Monday to consider a proposal to improve global preparedness for the next pandemic.
Ministers of the states will discuss whether to start formal negotiations on a “pandemic treaty”.
Germany’s diplomatic mission in Geneva tweeted on Sunday evening that countries had agreed on a draft decision that will launch treaty negotiations and set out a timeline.
The draft document describes a decision to establish an intergovernmental body to negotiate a “WHO convention, agreement or other international instruments on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response’’.
Negotiations should kick off no later than March 2022, according to the draft.
The draft decision is expected to be adopted at the three-day WHO session starting Monday.
It is not yet clear whether the eventual outcome will be a legally binding pact or not.
The exact contents are also not yet defined, but the aims include ensuring quick and fair distribution of medication and vaccines globally.
The EU is among those behind a binding global pandemic treaty, but the U.S. and China are sceptical and are resistant to any new multilateral commitments. (dpa/NAN)