International campaign for a treaty on pandemics at the WHO ~ #REUTERS:

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“The world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start preparing for the next one,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on Tuesday.

Without an international and coordinated approach, “we will remain vulnerable”, he warned, adding that he hopes that a draft resolution on this treaty will be presented in May, at the annual meeting of the 194 members of the United Nations. ‘WHO.

This call comes as the world struggles – more than a year after the onset of Covid-19 in China – to cope with the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 2.8 million lives worldwide.

Far from having triggered a surge of solidarity, the crisis has increased tensions and vaccine inequality is widening: 53% of the 565 million doses administered worldwide were administered in high-income countries, such as the United States. United and Israel, while the poorest received only 0.1% of the doses according to a count established by AFP.

The treaty proposal is presented in a forum signed by the leaders of countries spread over five continents, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, or even South Korean presidents Moon Jae -in, South African Cyril Ramaphosa, Indonesian Joko Widodo and Chilean Sebastián Pinera.

The leaders of key G20 members (the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India and Brazil) are not among the signatories of the platform, however, Dr Tedros said he received positive signals from Beijing and Washington.

While the Covid-19 “takes advantage of our weaknesses and our divisions”, “such a renewed collective commitment would be an important step to consolidate the preparation for pandemics at the highest political level”, according to this article published Monday evening in the World , and in many foreign dailies on Tuesday.

“There will be other pandemics and other large-scale health emergencies. No government or multilateral organization can face this threat alone,” insists the forum.

Initiator of the project, which he presented on December 3 at the United Nations platform, the President of the European Council Charles Michel detailed it during the press briefing.

“The Covid-19 has exposed the weaknesses and divisions of our societies, and now is the time to come together,” he said.

Information, pathogens and vaccines

The new treaty could be based on the “International Health Regulations”, a legally binding instrument adopted in 2005 by WHO member countries.

This text regulates in particular the declaration of a health emergency of international concern, the highest level of current alert.

But several voices have been raised questioning its effectiveness, believing that it has not made it possible to prevent the current crisis or to curb it.

Mr Tedros hoped that the future treaty addresses at least “three challenges” regarding the sharing of information, pathogens and technologies and products, including vaccines.

In the forum, the 25 signatory leaders explain that strengthening “resilience” in the face of pandemics means “strongly consolidating international cooperation to improve, for example, warning systems, information sharing, research, as well as the production and distribution “of vaccines, drugs, diagnostic products and protective equipment.

In this regard, “we are committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to vaccines, drugs and diagnostics that are safe, effective and affordable for this pandemic and those that will follow. Vaccination is a global public good”, they claim.

A treaty “should lead to greater mutual accountability and shared responsibility” and “foster transparency and cooperation within the international system,” they add, calling for working with civil society and the private sector.

The issue has not escaped the International Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry (IFPMA), which in a statement underlines that “the biopharma sector and its supply chains are part of the solution to future pandemics and therefore should play a role in the development “of the future treaty.

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Source: Reuters-VOA.

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