MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Responding to Richard Horton's editorial published in the Lancet on February 25, 2023, University of Miami and AHF Global Public Health Institute researchers and members of the Global Pandemic Policy Group have endorsed the need to incorporate effective accountability and enforcement mechanisms into the pandemic convention currently under negotiation by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body.
The response letter titled “The importance of accountability in tackling future pandemics” emphasizes the need for an independent high-level pandemic council outside the World Health Organization and highlights the importance of accountability and enforcement mechanisms. The authors have previously supported the crucial role of accountability in achieving the intended results of international treaties.
"It is not a question of if but when the next outbreak of pandemic potential will occur. Without accountability and enforcement mechanisms in this pandemic convention, we will not be better prepared for the next pandemic than we were for COVID-19. At a cost of over 15 million lives and over $25 trillion for COVID-19, we expect world leaders to protect us from the next pandemic,” says José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, member of the Group, and leading author of the Lancet response.
The call for such mechanisms echoes the concerns raised in Richard Horton’s editorial and the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR). Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, co-chairs of the IPPPR, support the establishment of a Global Health Threats Council at the heads of state and government levels to ensure that the international system is empowered to coordinate and act against future diseases with pandemic potential.
The authors hope their endorsement will contribute to the ongoing dialogue around pandemic preparedness and accountability. Dr. Jorge Saavedra, co-author of the response and Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute, stated, "The pandemic convention currently being negotiated must include effective accountability and enforcement mechanisms. An independent high-level pandemic council, separate from the WHO, is also needed because, without these essential elements, a global pandemic agreement may not achieve its intended result."
The timing of the response is propitious as the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body is currently negotiating the first draft of the pandemic agreement, which may be released in May of 2023.
Organized by the University of Miami Public Health Policy Lab and the AHF Global Public Health Institute, the Global Pandemic Policy Group is an interdisciplinary cohort of experts in public health, public policy, medicine, diplomacy, and economics who develop evidence-based policy recommendations to address pandemics and other global health threats.
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