Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) have issued a joint declaration promoting a global standard on proof of vaccination for international travel and calling for the establishment of "global digital health networks" that build on existing digital COVID-19 vaccine passport schemes.
The International Health Regulations (2005) is an instrument of international law developed under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) that lays down a global framework for responding to the international spread of disease.
The WHO-backed standard, which entered into force in 2007, required countries to strengthen surveillance capacities at border crossings and introduced a series of health documents, including international certificates of vaccination.
Besides acknowledging the utility of the IHR framework, the G20 leaders said they support ongoing "international dialogue and collaboration on the establishment of trusted global digital health networks as part of the efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics."
They added that these global digital health networks should "capitalize and build on the success of the existing standards and digital COVID-19 certificates."
'Let's Have a Digital Health Certificate'?The joint declaration follows recommendations from Indonesia's Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin made during a Business 20 (B20) panel held ahead of the G20 summit.
Sadikin added that the benefit of a global WHO-standardized vaccine passport would be to facilitate international travel.
"So for the next pandemic, instead of stopping the movement of the people 100 percent, which stopped the economy globally, you can still provide some movement of the people," he added.
'Digital Gulag'Journalist Nick Corbishley, who writes about economic and political trends in Europe and Latin America, has warned that vaccine passports can lead to the implementation of a global digital identity scheme that will threaten privacy and freedom across the world.
Corbishley described the negative aspects of a global digital identification scheme as a kind of “digital gulag" in which people could be "effectively banished from society."
"That is a terrifying vision,” he said.