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Towards an international treaty on pandemics

21 April 2021

Several leaders from around the world joined European Council President Charles Michel and World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in openly calling, on 30 March, for an international treaty on pandemics, building on the lessons learned through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The joint statement declares "There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. 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. We are, therefore, committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics. Immunisation is a global public good and we will need to be able to develop, manufacture and deploy vaccines as quickly as possible. (…) To that end, we believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response (...). " 

Objectives of the Treaty

  • Foster an all-of-government and all-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics.
  • Greatly enhance international cooperation to improve, for example:
    - alert systems
    - data-sharing
    - research
    - and local, regional and global production and distribution of medical and public health counter measures (e.g. vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment)
  • Recognise a "One Health" approach that connects the health of humans, animals and our planet.
  • Increase 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”. (...)

The joint call (full text here) was signed by more than 20 international leaders, including Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

By J. V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji; Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand; António Luís Santos da Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal; Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy; Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania; Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Charles Michel, President of the European Council; Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece; Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea; Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile; Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica; Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago; Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands; Kais Saied, President of Tunisia; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia; Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

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