Leigh Kamore Haynes, Eric A. Friedman, Adam Bertscher, Jingyi Xu, Luiz Galvao
2021. Governing Pandemics Initiative, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
The proposal for a pandemic treaty acknowledges shortcomings of the current response to COVID-19 and the need for the international community to better prepare for and be ready to respond to a future pandemic. The proposal aims to promote and structure international cooperation to strengthen surveillance, alerts and response, and trust in the international health system.1 Such concerted action is necessary to prevent the outcomes witnessed during this pandemic from repeating in the future.
A range of proposals as to what the pandemic treaty might encompass have been put forth, and they similarly prioritize addressing many of the major deficits in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as global inequity in access to vaccines and national health systems being ill-equipped to respond effectively to the pandemic. In addition to this, pandemic preparedness and response and prevention of future pandemics also require prioritization of addressing the underlying causes of those failures in response and unjust outcomes, which are rooted in inequity.
Another treaty proposal, for a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), has sought to address root causes of inequity within and between countries, such as those that were both revealed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, through advancing the right to health. A similar approach in a pandemic treaty, emphasizing implementation of standards and mechanisms that embody principles of human rights to achieve equity, would serve the purpose of pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, while addressing inequities and paving a way for everyone to enjoy the right to health.
Read the full paper from the Governing Pandemics Initiative.