International Health Regulations 2005
New obligations, new opportunities
With the world facing new threats arising from emerging diseases and other public health risks, the International Health Regulations were substantially revised to confront these new challenges. The revised Regulations or "IHR (2005)" were unanimously adopted by the fifty-eighth World Health Assembly on 23 May 2005 and entered into force on 15 June 2007 for all countries that have agreed to be bound by them (States Parties).
The IHR (2005) are a legally-binding global framework for preventing, protecting against, controlling and providing a public health response to the international spread of disease while avoiding unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
The IHR (2005) address a much broader scope of disease than before (irrespective of origin or source). They set out new obligations and agreed procedures for notification, verification, assessment of events and response to significant public health risks and emergencies, including those caused by emerging infectious diseases. States Parties must notify their WHO IHR Contact Point of any event that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) within 24 hours of assessment, through their designated National IHR Focal Points. The best way to prevent the international spread of diseases is to detect and respond to disease events early and effectively when the problem is still small and at local levels. The IHR (2005) sets out country core capacity requirements for surveillance and response, and for designated international airports, ports and certain ground crossings.
The IHR (2005) provide States Parties with new opportunities to strengthen their basic public health systems and to collaborate with each other, with WHO and other partners to achieve a common goal‑contributing to national, regional and international health security.
Effective compliance with the IHR (2005) will require continuing political commitment, adequate resource allocation, collective efforts, shared responsibilities and strong partnerships. In the WHO Western Pacific Region, the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED) has been developed and endorsed as a regional framework for countries and areas of the Region to develop, strengthen and maintain the core capacity required for emerging diseases. The effective implementation of APSED helps countries and areas to meet the core capacity requirements for surveillance and response under the IHR (2005).