LONDON & MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the upcoming G7 Summit on June 11-13 in the United Kingdom, the Panel for a Global Public Health Convention (PGPHC) calls on the attending leaders to put their full support behind efforts to formulate and ratify a robust global agreement to prevent future pandemics. The G7 is in a unique position to bring the issue to the level of heads of state and shape discussion ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September.
With at least 3.7 million people dead and billion affected by the social, economic and health related consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time has come for the world to elevate global health to the same level of importance and multilateral cooperation that has been shown for nuclear arms control, international trade, and climate change. We have a moral and humanitarian duty to ensure the world learns from the tragedy of COVID-19. These lessons must be reflected in a robust global public health convention.
“G7 leaders have the opportunity to change the shape of our future. They need to elevate discussion of a pandemic convention to the highest levels of government, and call on all country leaders across the world to commit to the convention’s development and move the process forward at the UNGA and beyond,” said Dame Barbara Stocking, Chair of the PGPHC and President, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. “It is vital that there are compliance mechanisms to ensure preparedness and response and stop outbreaks developing into pandemics. Protocols in the convention could also include measures to achieve equity in access to vaccines and drugs and perhaps in future measures to prevent animal to human transmission of viruses. We are all at risk until none of us are at risk. We call on G7 to show leadership.”
The World Health Assembly recently adopted a resolution calling for a special meeting in November to explore the outlines of a possible framework convention. We are disappointed that G7 health ministers have already expressed their acceptance of this postponement in a June 4 communique. The delay will likely dampen the sense of urgency on this issue. The G7 Summit and the UNGA in September are critical junctures for heads of state to renew the urgency and commit to ensuring any future agreement has their backing.
As we have seen with COVID-19, managing outbreaks and a pandemic involves many areas of government: finance, trade, foreign affairs, and engaging with the public, not just health. Ultimately these are inter-related and require decisions to be made at heads of state level. The convention should be signed by them and its ongoing implementation monitored by them.
The Panel for a Global Public Health Convention (PGPHC) is an independent coalition of global leaders working to strengthen the world’s ability to prevent, prepare, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before they become widespread pandemics. The Panel was founded in 2020 in response to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of bridging critical gaps in the global public health architecture and policy frameworks by promulgating a new global public health treaty or convention in an effort to ensure another pandemic of such magnitude does not happen again. To learn more, visit www.gphcpanel.org, and follow us on Twitter @GPHC_Panel.