May 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

WHO chief: Global treaty needed for pandemic preparedness

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Laurent Gillieron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged member states Monday to negotiate a global pandemic preparedness treaty to ensure sustainable funding for the WHO and address the challenges and failures exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Tedros argued that the coronavirus pandemic has been defined by a "lack of sharing: of data, information, pathogens, technologies and resources."

  • A pandemic preparedness treaty would fill in these gaps, Tedros said, and build a partnership between states to allow for the "mechanisms for global health security," including an early warning system, equitable access to vaccines, stockpiling pandemic supplies, and an emergency workforce.

The big picture: Tedros added the interconnectedness of the international community necessitated a global approach to solving the pandemic, as "member states can only truly keep their own people safe if they are accountable to each other."

  • He urged all member states to commit to supporting the vaccination of 10% of the global population by September and 30% by the end of the year.

Of note: Tedros also urged states to find a sustainable financial model for the agency's work.

  • "The technical support and guidance we provide, the capacity building and training of health workers, the scaling up of sequencing, the critical supplies...It all has to be funded. We cannot pay people with praise," he said.

What's next: A potential global treaty could be discussed in a WHO meeting next November, the UN said.

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