Proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005)

Closed 18 Feb 2024

Opened 17 Jan 2024


The Ministry of Health is seeking the views of New Zealanders on amendments proposed by Member States to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). This will help inform New Zealand’s position as we contribute to the ongoing negotiations in the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR).  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has prepared a comprehensive document which integrates around 300 proposed amendments into the articles in the IHR 2005. This is the document we are seeking views on: 

Find out more about each individual country’s proposed amendments:

The consultation will be open until Sunday, 18 February 2023.

What are the International Health Regulations (IHR)?

The IHR aim to prevent and control the international spread of disease and other public health hazards between countries to protect the health of their citizens. They define countries’ rights and obligations in handling public health events and emergencies that have the potential to cross borders.  

What is the aim of this consultation?

International negotiations are currently being held on amendments to the IHR. The Ministry is interested in New Zealanders’ views on the proposed amendments to help inform New Zealand’s position as we contribute to the ongoing negotiations.

While the IHR serve countries well, we can improve the IHR to ensure the regulations continue to be fit for purpose in future.

The consultation is one of the steps involved in giving effect to any changes to the IHR in New Zealand. Other steps that are still required include seeking a Cabinet mandate, conducting a National Interest Analysis, New Zealand’s full Parliamentary Treaty Examination process, and presentation to Parliament.

Signing IHR changes may create new international legal obligations for New Zealand. However, this doesn’t automatically change New Zealand law – only the New Zealand Parliament can do this. The amendments have yet to be finalised. The WHO Secretariat aims to present the progress on amendments negotiated by the WGIHR to the 77th World Health Assembly in May 2024.  

Areas of negotiation include:

  • foundational articles including purpose and scope, principles, and responsible authorities
  • communicating a public health event
  • tiered alert system to determine a public health emergency of international concern
  • health measures to enable a prompt and effective response to public health risks (such as technical guidance, health products, technologies, knowledge sharing and health workforce)
  • international movement of travellers, baggage, cargo, containers, means of transport, goods, or postal parcels 
  • digitalisation of health documents
  • establishing an Emergency, Implementation and Compliance Committee
  • IHR implementation.

Who are we asking to participate?

New Zealanders.

How can you have your say?

We are interested in your views on improving the existing IHR. Questions we would specifically like feedback on are:

  • Are there aspects of the proposed amendments which you think New Zealand should support or oppose?
  • Is there any other information you would like to provide that would help to develop New Zealand’s position on amendments to the IHR?

What will we do with your feedback? 

The feedback received in the consultation will help inform New Zealand’s position as we contribute to the ongoing IHR negotiations.  A document summarising the feedback will be published on the Ministry of Health’s website.

What information will be collected? 

You are not required to provide your name or contact details to participate. However, you may provide your email address to give us permission to contact you in relation to global health negotiations.

Please note that all feedback may be subject to release under the Official Information Act 1982. No personal or identifiable information will be released as part of a response.


  • Health sector


  • Public health