WHO seeking global certificate system, inspired by EU's Covid pass
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides sign what they referred to as a "landmark" agreement.
According to a new collaboration agreement reached on Monday, the World Health Organization will base its global health certification system on the digital Covid pass of the European Union.
In Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides signed what they referred to as a "landmark" agreement.
"The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the value of digital health solutions in facilitating access to health services," Tedros said at the signing ceremony.
As a first step in developing a global network of digital health certifications, he said the EU's Covid certificate would now become "a global public good."
He asserted that the network would grow to incorporate items like digitized international routine vaccination cards.
According to a joint statement from the WHO and the EU, it will be intended to enable global travel while also assisting in defending individuals from health dangers, such as potential upcoming pandemics.
This "will be an important part of our efforts to strengthen health systems and to support our member states to prepare better for the next epidemic or pandemic," Tedros said, adding that the network "could also play a crucial role in cross-border humanitarian situations by ensuring people have access to their health records and credentials as they move across borders due to conflict, the climate crisis and other emergencies."
'Privacy is key'
Travelers going around inside the bloc have utilized the paper or digital EU Covid certificate to demonstrate their Covid vaccination or test status.
Based on open-source technologies and standards, the most popular Covid certification program in the world enables non-EU nations to link with certifications created in accordance with EU requirements.
The certificate "showed our citizens the light at the end of the tunnel and protected at the same time public health amid the uncertainty of the pandemic", Kyriakides said, adding that this EU success "quickly became a global standard."
She pointed out that almost 80 countries had already adopted the EU Covid certificate framework.
Tedros emphasized that the new certificate program would be "based on the principles of equity, innovation, transparency, and data protection and privacy."
WHO won't have access to any underlying personal information because governments would still be the only ones with access to it.
"Privacy is key," Tedros said.
"We will only maintain a directory of the public keys that can be used to verify the authenticity of a member state's digital health records."