The World Health Organization has partnered with the European Union to create a globalized digital vaccine passport system for future pandemics.
The European Commission made the announcement on Monday.
“In June 2023, WHO will take up the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification to establish a global system that will help facilitate global mobility and protect citizens across the world from on-going and future health threats,” the statement reads.
“This is the first building block of the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN) that will develop a wide range of digital products to deliver better health for all.”
The statement further reads that the European Commission will provide the technical expertise needed, and will work closely with the WHO “to encourage maximum global uptake and participation.”
The WHO began advocating for global guidelines for managing health emergencies in its 2005 International Health Regulations.
The G20 declaration also urged the importance of a “One Health” approach. It stated support for the “WHO mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer hub” and called for all countries to share technology on mutually agreed terms.
Last year, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO will be the “custodians” of the so-called International Health Regulations. He said it’s important to “put in place the measures to make the world safer.”
Ghebreyesus said climate change, deforestation and urbanization will worsen future pandemics “unless we take concerted and coordinated action as one global community.”
On behalf of G20 countries, including Canada, the White House declared support in November for the WHO to facilitate universal vaccine passports.
“We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods, under the framework of the (International Health Regulations, 2005), to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognizing digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations,” the White House stated.