Have your say: Improving pandemic prevention, preparedness and response with a legal instrument

New Zealand is involved in a process at the World Health Organization to draft and negotiate a treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. We’re interested in your views to inform how New Zealand engages in this process.

In November 2021, New Zealand and other World Health Organization (WHO) Member States agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPPR) (also referred to as a ‘pandemic treaty’). Governments are working towards an outcome by the 77th World Health Assembly in May 2024.

A new pandemic treaty was a key recommendation of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If successful, a pandemic treaty could better prepare the world for future health emergencies and help ensure that a global health crisis the magnitude of COVID-19 does not occur again.

Through the INB, WHO Member States have been involved in negotiations since 2022. The INB is supported by an INB Bureau comprising six government representatives from each of the six WHO regions. In March 2024, the INB Bureau attempted to reflect the balance of Member States’ proposals to date with a text called ‘Revised draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement’. This text is publicly available here(external link). The Bureau had previously released a text in October 2023, that text is still publicly available here(external link).

For more updates on the negotiations, you can check the INB section on the WHO website(external link).

Note: Negotiations on a new Pandemic Treaty are taking place at the same time as WHO negotiations to amend the International Health Regulations (2005). New Zealand is being led in those negotiations by the Ministry of Health (with whom we are working closely). Depending on how both negotiations develop, they may cover related topics.

New Zealand's approach to date

Cabinet has agreed to a number of objectives to guide New Zealand’s positions in the current negotiations. To find out more about these, read the Cabinet Paper on a Negotiating Mandate for the Pandemic Treaty and Amendments to the International Health Regulations 2005 (19 February 2024).

Have your say on a new pandemic treaty

As we move forward in the negotiation process, we’re interested in what New Zealanders want to see in a new pandemic treaty. Your views will help inform our overall contribution as we participate in negotiations.

In particular, we are interested to hear from New Zealanders on the following questions:

  • Are there aspects of the proposals to date which you think New Zealand should support or oppose?
  • Is there any information you would like to provide that would help develop New Zealand’s position on negotiations for a new pandemic treaty?
  • Do we have permission to contact you in the future if we do additional consultation related to this?

In July-August 2022, we sought feedback from New Zealanders on the negotiations. Following that initial round of public submissions, we have continued to receive feedback so that it may be considered by the government. Anonymised feedback can be found in the document below.

How to send in your views

Email: pandemicinstrument@mfat.govt.nz

Mail: Pandemic Instrument Coordinator, Legal Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901, Wellington

What we do with your views

As part of ongoing consultations, the views of New Zealanders are collated and reported to Ministers. Officials take those views into account when setting their negotiating positions and seeking mandates from Ministers. 

Please be aware that all responses may be subject to release under the Official Information Act 1982. No personal or identifiable information will be released as part of a response.

Your feedback may also be taken into account as we help develop the government’s position on negotiations to amend the International Health Regulations (2005).

Will there be other opportunities to provide feedback?

Feedback may be submitted at any time during the negotiations.

If this process results in a treaty, how can I provide feedback?

Should the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body recommend a legally binding international instrument such as a treaty, this would require a process of Cabinet and Parliamentary scrutiny. This would include a Select Committee process, which may provide an opportunity for the public to make submissions on the treaty.

A Select Committee may choose to invite submissions as part of an international treaty examination, but it is not always the case that they will do so. Chapter 42 of Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand(external link) (which is available on the Parliament website) explains that because of the shorter time frame for international treaty examinations than legislation, a call for submissions happens exceptionally, rather than routinely.

Other information

The following are other key historical documents relevant to New Zealand's approach to the negotiations.


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