Sunday, October 17

World leaders call for a WHO treaty to prepare for future pandemics

About two dozen world leaders have called for a new international treaty on preparing for future pandemics in an editorial published Tuesday.

Among them are the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and several leaders of European countries who joined the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in calling for “an architecture of health stronger international framework that protects future generations. “

The COVID-19 pandemic “has taught us a brutal lesson” that no country can do it alone, Michel said at a press conference Tuesday with the WHO. He said the main goal of the treaty would be to better predict, prevent and respond to pandemics globally.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe,” Michel added, asserting an often-cited maxim that the pandemic had exposed the weaknesses of global society.

“There are many lessons to be learned after this crisis,” Michel added later.

The treaty would be rooted in the WHO constitution, the leaders said, and would ensure future equitable global access to vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.

Citing the signing of global treaties and multilateralism after World War II, the leaders said countries must cooperate to face the threat of future pandemics.

“The primary objective of this treaty would be to foster a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics,” the leaders wrote in the editorial.

Dr Tedros said there is a problem with sharing data and technology, which are challenges that could be addressed in a treaty that will “strengthen global capacity” to respond to pandemics.

“We are only as strong as the weakest link,” he added.

Dr. Tedros added that the pandemic had thrived amid inequalities in society and brought out the best and worst in humanity.

He said that COVID-19 had revealed the gaps and inequalities in society, stating that “the world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start planning the next one.”

The global response to COVID-19 has been criticized for its lack of coordination and equality.

At first, experts say countries did not heed WHO warnings about the global COVID-19 emergency. WHO officials said Tuesday that a treaty would give more weight to the International Health Regulations that were adopted in 2005.

Meanwhile, the global vaccination campaign has been heavily criticized as wealthy nations bought the doses of vaccine available, leaving other countries without the means to inoculate their populations.

Some health activists also criticize EU countries for blocking efforts to waive intellectual property laws to share more knowledge about vaccines and treatments with lower-income countries.

In response to criticism of the vaccine campaign, Michel said the EU was committed to helping COVAX obtain vaccines and was working to increase vaccine manufacturing in Europe.

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