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UPDATED Explainer: WHO Pandemic Agreement Threatens National Sovereignty, Free Speech, and Life

Ben Johnson : May 23, 2024  The Washington Stand

...WHO bureaucrats could weaponize the seemingly-innocuous phrase “gender equality" to support abortion-on-demand and transgender ideology.

[] An official inside WHO released the text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement as it stands as of May 10, 2024. This explainer has been updated to reflect the latest text. (Screengrab image)

The Biden administration plans to adopt a dangerous international accord that gives the World Health Organization (WHO) greater control over the way the US responds to global health pandemics like COVID-19—and to do so without Senate approval. Although the current text does not define the term "pandemic," its meaning is all but irrelevant, since "the provisions of the WHO Pandemic Agreement apply both during and between pandemics."

As this article will demonstrate, the proposed WHO Pandemic Agreement:

  • threatens national sovereignty;
  • equates the health of humans with animals and plants;
  • establishes a global super-government of unelected bureaucrats, who may alter the agreement at any time;
  • transfers one-fifth of all US vaccines and emergency equipment to WHO and regular monetary contributions to "developing countries" (a category that includes China);
  • requires nations to follow WHO regulations on "routine immunization" and "social measures" including lockdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing;
  • calls on nations to study factors that reduce public "trust" in government pandemic policies, such as mask and vaccine mandates or social distancing;
  • would empower private-sector forces such as social media companies to ramp up censorship of disfavored viewpoints;
  • aims to create equity-driven, universal national health care systems around the globe;
  • does not define the terms "pandemic," "gender," or "women"; and
  • has a "Hotel California" provision stating that a nation can never discharge any "obligations which accrued while it was a Party to the WHO Pandemic Agreement," even after it withdraws.

To make matters worse, the Biden administration lobbied WHO to rename the Pandemic Treaty as an "Agreement" so it can adopt the measure without Senate ratification (which a treaty requires).


The United States joined the World Health Organization in 1948. In March 2021, WHO members called for a new international pandemic "treaty" and began writing the first draft of the "legally binding treaty" on December 7, 2022. After the Biden administration signaled that it could not win Senate ratification as required by the Constitution, WHO transformed the "treaty" into the "WHO Pandemic Agreement" and released the negotiating text of the document last October.

All 194 WHO member nations were expected to vote on the agreement at the 77th World Health Assembly from May 27-June 1. However, WHO's Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) failed to produce the full text of an agreement by the end of its last session on May 10, so WHO members will instead decide how, or whether, to continue the process.

Eroding National Sovereignty

In its own words, the World Health Organization exists "to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism." The WHO Pandemic Agreement naturally follows from that globalist mindset.

The WHO Pandemic Agreement pointedly values global governance bodies over national sovereignty. "The interpretation and application of the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of the World Health Organization," not national constitutions or laws, it asserts (Article 26:1). Nations would retain their sovereignty only "in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the WHO Constitution and the principles of international law, and their sovereign rights over their biological resources" (Article 3:1; see also 12:1). However, WHO agreements may limit nations' "sovereign rights over their biological resources." The current text specifies that the International Health Regulations (IHRs) regulate the interpretation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement (Article 26:2). Part of the current agreed text states that all nations will adopt policies "consistent with" the IHRs (Article 4:4). The latest text also requires the operation of the pathogen transfer system remains "consistent with and does not run counter to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization" (Article 13:3h).

The new text of the agreement further dilutes national sovereignty by striking the requirement that nations enact its provisions enacting a One Health approach (see below) "in accordance with, national law" (formerly contained in Article 5:1). While INB negotiators could not agree a One Health approach should be carried out "in line with national law," they agreed such policies must be "subject to applicable international law" (Article 5:2; see also Article 10:2).

The current "negotiating text" of the agreement is an improvement over the February 2023 "zero text," which stated that nations have "the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health ... provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to their peoples and other countries." That would allow WHO to act against any national policy which it unilaterally deemed not in the best interests of its people, even if its citizens overwhelmingly supported the policy. (Ironically, an Associated Press fact-check quoted this sentence as proof the agreement posed no threat to national sovereignty.)

The WHO Pandemic Agreement places a number of restrictions and demands on US sovereignty:

  • WHO takes a double-tithe of US vaccines, medicines, and equipment. The agreement commits the United States to "fair, equitable and rapid systematic and timely sharing of benefits, both monetary and non-monetary free from disruptions of any kind. This shall include that, "in the event of a pandemic," the US will furnish "at least 20% of the real time production of each of safe, quality, efficacious and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics." The text stipulates the US shall give "[No less than 10% of the production free of charge" and "at least 10% of the production at a not-for-profit price" (Article 12:4b(i)). The accord notes "pandemic-related health products ... may include, without limitation, diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and personal protective equipment" (Article 1d). The agreement will also include unspecified "additional benefit sharing provisions" (Article 12:5). The accord also limits nations' ability to provide for their own citizens' needs. "During a pandemic emergency, each Party should avoid maintaining national stockpiles of pandemic-related health products that unnecessarily exceed the quantities anticipated to be needed for domestic pandemic preparedness and response" (Article 13bis6).
  • Real decisions are made by nameless, unaccountable bureaucrats from around the globe. The agreement creates a "Conference of the Parties" (formerly called the "Governing Body"), which may adopt amendments, annexes, or protocols that alter the WHO Pandemic Agreement's text by a three-quarters majority vote (Articles 29, 30, and 31). These take effect when two-thirds of the nations deposit "[i]nstruments of acceptance" (Article 29:4). As a 1999 United Nations document explains, "The instruments of 'acceptance' or 'approval; of a treaty have the same legal effect as ratification and consequently express the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty. In the practice of certain states acceptance and approval have been used instead of ratification when, at a national level, constitutional law does not require the treaty to be ratified by the head of state." They are, in other words, instruments that allow the US president to circumvent US ratification. Aside from these requirements, "protocols" adopted by the unelected officials in the Conference of the Parties must also be ratified by the unelected officials in the World Health Assembly (Article 31). "The Conference of the Parties may establish subsidiary bodies, as well as decide upon delegating functions to bodies established under other agreements adopted under the WHO Constitution, as it deems necessary, and determine the terms and modalities of such bodies" (Article 21:7). These unelected officials may also adopt their own rules and "criteria for the participation of observers at its proceedings," presumably including barring all observation (Article 21:5).
  • The agreement will create a global medical force at WHO's disposal. Member nations must take steps "in coordination with the WHO ... to strengthen, sustain and mobilize a skilled, trained and multidisciplinary global health emergency workforce" that is available for "deployment" if other members of the agreement request it (Article 8:3).
  • The agreement states that pandemic prevention requires the full-scale cultural, economic, and political transformation of nations that adopt it. The text states that "adequate pandemic prevention, preparedness, [and] response ... is part of a continuum to combat other health emergencies and achieve greater health equity through resolute action on the social, environmental, cultural, political and economic determinants of health" (Introduction, 16, emphasis added). The next provision clarifies this means the "public health impact of growing threats such as climate change, poverty and hunger, [and] fragile and vulnerable settings" (Introduction, 17). According to this view, WHO bureaucrats could state any form of economic inequality, constitutional order, or religious beliefs that fail to celebrate abortion or same-sex behavior might trigger a "pandemic."
  • WHO reserves the right to cancel your reservations. WHO previously barred nations from questioning any provision of the agreement, stating simply, "No reservations may be made to the WHO Pandemic Agreement [unless permitted by other articles of the WHO Pandemic Agreement]" (Article 29). The revised text formally allows reservations ... unless WHO objects to them. "Reservations may be made to the WHO Pandemic Agreement unless incompatible with the object and purpose of the WHO Pandemic Agreement," as determined by WHO (Article 27). Nations may also make declarations or statements when accepting the agreement— an increasingly common practice in US legislation—but "provided that such declarations or statements do not purport to exclude or to modify the legal effect of the provisions of the WHO Pandemic Agreement in their application to that State or" multinational body, such as the European Union (Article 28:1).
  • The WHO Pandemic Agreement contains a "Hotel California" provision which makes any transfer of national sovereignty to the WHO during US membership in the agreement permanent and irrevocable. The exact wording specifies: "A State shall not be discharged by reason of the withdrawal from the obligations which accrued while it was a Party to the WHO Pandemic Agreement, nor shall the withdrawal affect any right, obligation or legal situation of that State created through the execution of this Agreement prior to its termination for that State" (Article 32:3). In other words, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

The latest revised text apparently seeks to alleviate concerns that the WHO Pandemic Agreement establishes a world government by stating: "Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the WHO Secretariat, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the national and/or domestic laws, as appropriate, or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures or implement lockdowns" (Article 24:2).

However, nothing in the agreement prevents the Conference of Parties from exercising these powers. The agreement may or may not allow them to bestow these on the secretary. Indeed, the previous clause states, "The Secretariat shall perform ... such other functions as may be determined by the Conference of the Parties" (Article 24:1). As we shall see, the WHO Pandemic Agreement appears to envision both mass emergency vaccinations, experimental vaccine trials, and "social measures" from mask mandates to mass lockdowns.

WHO: Abortion Is 'Essential' During Pandemics

The new text inserts requirements for "equitable access to ... quality routine and essential health care services ... during pandemics" (Article 6:2a; see also Article 7:1). Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the pandemic agreement, it is vital to understand that WHO considers abortion an essential service. In March 2022, WHO released a new "Abortion care guideline" stating that both chemical and surgical abortion should continue even during global health crises. "In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic ... WHO has included comprehensive abortion care in the list of essential health services," said the document.

WHO opened 2024 with a bulletin calling on member states to "counteract conservative opposition" and "enact progressive laws and policies" on abortion, homosexuality, and prostitution. "Countries must repeal laws that criminalize homosexuality, sex work and HIV transmission," stated a bulletin titled "Advancing the 'sexual' in sexual and reproductive health and rights: a global health, gender equality and human rights imperative," co-written by WHO's director-general, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

The WHO Pandemic Agreement seemingly signals that it will smuggle a liberal sexual agenda by invoking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which the agreement classifies as aiming "to achieve gender equality" (Introduction, 5). The SDGs also commit all signatories, by 2030, to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning" (3.7).

WHO bureaucrats could weaponize the seemingly-innocuous phrase "gender equality" to support abortion-on-demand and transgender ideology. In fact, Ghebreyesus used just this language in a WHO bulletinofficially released on January 1, 2024, which folded "sexual rights" into "gender equality" and stated, "People with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities often face stigma and discrimination." Stonewall, a British LGBT pressure group, interprets a reference to "other status" (SDG 10.2) as granting special rights to people who identify as homosexual or transgender... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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