GENEVA, Switzerland — The international community should work together “towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response” to build a more robust global health architecture that will protect future generations, world leaders said in a commentary published in several newspapers around the world.
“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone,” the leaders say in their article. “The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”
The main goal of a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response would be to foster a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to strengthen national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics. This is an opportunity for the world to come together as a global community for peaceful cooperation that extends beyond this crisis.
According to the article, the treaty “would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organization, drawing in other relevant organizations key to this endeavour, in support of the principle of health for all. Existing global health instruments, especially the International Health Regulations, would underpin such a treaty, ensuring a firm and tested foundation on which we can build and improve.”
It would also include recognition of a “One Health” approach that connects the health of humans, animals and our planet. And such a treaty should lead to more mutual accountability and shared responsibility, transparency and cooperation within the international system and with its rules and norms.
“To achieve this, we will work with heads of state and governments globally and all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector. We are convinced that it is our responsibility, as leaders of nations and international institutions, to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when COVID-19 has exploited our weaknesses and divisions, we must seize this opportunity and come together as a global community for peaceful cooperation that extends beyond this crisis. Building our capacities and systems to do this will take time and require a sustained political, financial and societal commitment over many years.”