Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has “joined the wave of support” together with world leaders for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response to build a more robust health architecture that will protect future generations.  In a joint op-ed prepared by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the leaders concurred that there will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies and no single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. 

 “The aims were clear and this is to bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, namely peace, prosperity, health and security,” the article read.  

“Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”  

The World Health Organisation is committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics.  

The main goal of the treaty is 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 counter measures, such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment.  

It would also include 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.  

The article further elaborates that such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level.  

“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 cooperation that extends beyond this crisis. Building our capacities and systems to do this will take time and require a sustained political, financial and societal commitment over many years. 

“Our solidarity in ensuring that the world is better prepared will be our legacy that protects our children and grandchildren and minimises the impact of future pandemics on our economies and our societies.”  Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General publicly thanked the world leaders for their commitment towards the pandemic treaty. 

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