More than 20 world leaders including President Paul Kagame, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, are calling for a new global settlement to help the world prepare for future pandemics.
They have noted, in a joint article published in several newspapers, that a new treaty would help to establish better systems for alerting people about potential pandemics while also improving the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment.
Admitting that Covid-19 has posed the biggest challenge since World War Two, the leaders say that a treaty similar to that reached in the wake of World War Two is needed to build cross-border cooperation.
“At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system,” reads part of their joint article.
The main goal of this treaty, they say, would be to foster an all-of-government and all-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics.
“This includes greatly enhancing international cooperation to improve, for example, alert systems, data-sharing, research, and local, regional and global production and distribution of medical and public health countermeasures, such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment.”
It would also include, they write, 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.”
The world leaders note countries must now be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion.
“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.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”
The letter also says that 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 co-operation that extends beyond this crisis.
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