On 22 November, 11 Members of the Estonian Parliament wrote a letter to the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) to reject the proposed international agreement on pandemic prevention preparedness and response – also known as the “Pandemic Treaty” or “Pandemic Accord”. The letter also rejects the amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) (“IHR”).
Last month we published an article explaining that in May 2022 the World Health Assembly (“WHA”) quietly agreed to reduce the period during which nations have to opt out of future amendments to the International Health Regulations. For nations to retain the longer 18-month period previously allowed for nations to opt-out, countries need to send WHO a short note that they are opting out of the amendments decided by the WHA in 2022 before 1 December 2023.
The letter from the Estonian MPs is dated 22 November 2023, 8 days before the 1 December deadline. The MPs haven’t simply opted out of the amendments decided by the WHA in 2022, they have gone much further and rejected both the proposed Pandemic Treaty and the IHR amendments in their entirety as well as additional funding to WHO.
Kalle Grünthal, one of the MPs who signed the letter, broke the news on Facebook. The letter begins:
Hereby, the Republic of Estonia, based on Article 22 of the Statute of the World Health Organisation, declares that it rejects and does not consent to the international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response as well as complementary amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) and to improving the sustainability of WHO funding.