The appearance of SARS-CoV-2 led to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a global pandemic, which led to an unprecedented process of transferring public health care responsibilities from the state to the international level.
By the end of 2021, the WHO announced that it was working on creating a document which would “allow states from across the whole world to increase country, regional and global abilities and increase resilience against future pandemics.” According to Polish legal institute Ordo Iuris lawyers, the creation of such a document has caused concern that the sovereignty of nation states will be restricted.
The International Treaty on Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness is currently in the draft phase. The authors of the Ordo Iuris’s analysis believe that the possibility of including motions in the document according to which the WHO would take over some competencies from national governments is very real.
The lawyers underlined that the WHO’s expanded competencies would concern not only fighting infectious diseases, but also issues associated with climate change and abortion. In their opinion, this was suggested by the statements of G7 leaders concerning fighting the pandemic, which were released in February 2021.
The document also included postulates which referred to climate change and the fulfilment of the so-called Sustainable Development Goals.
Ordo Iuris noted that the Polish constitution does permit the transfer of some state competencies to an international organization. This can only happen, however, once certain conditions listed in the constitution have been fulfilled. These conditions state that the transfer of competencies can only be completed after permission has been granted through a popular referendum or two-thirds support in the Polish parliament.