Leaders from more than 20 countries and the World Health Organization have agreed to work towards an international treaty on future pandemics, in a joint letter published in media outlets Tuesday around the world.
The treaty would “greatly” enhance international co-operation to improve research, data-sharing, distribution of vaccines, medicines and personal protective equipment to protect future generations from pandemics, the letter said, adding it would be “rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organization.”
Among signatories were leaders from the UK, Germany and France, and from Africa, leaders from Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa signed the letter. South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia were among Asian signatories, while Chile and Costa Rica were among Latin American countries making the call.
China and the United States were not part of the group.
The letter’s publication comes ahead of an “extraordinary joint call” with the signatories on Tuesday to outline the treaty’s proposal.
“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 co-ordinated fashion. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” the letter reads.
It noted how political leaders united following following the devastation of two world wars, and could do so again.
“Today we hold the same hope that, as we fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.”