The World Health Assembly is the governing body of the World Health Organization. It is made up of countries that are members of the WHO and it meets annually in May.
However, for only the second time in history the World Health Assembly gathered for a special session.
From November 29 to December 1st member states convened to consider whether or not they should seek to create some sort of new treaty, convention accord or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.
And this meeting, of course, occurred just as the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, was popping up in countries around the world, prompting travel bans focused on Southern Africa.
On the line to help us understand what happened at this special session of the World Health Assembly and what it means for progress towards an international agreement of some sort on pandemic preparedness and response is Kate Dodson, Vice President for Global Health at the United Nations Foundation. We kick off discussing the international response to the new Omricon variant before having a broader discussion about the potential for a new international accord on pandemic preparedness and response.