By Babajide Okeowo
In a bid to prepare the world for the next pandemic, more than 20 world leaders have called for a new global treaty.
The world leaders including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Macron of France and German chancellor Angela Merkel, Head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, are all of the opinions that another pandemic or health crisis is a matter of “not if, but when” noting that COVID 19 has posed the biggest challenge since World War Two.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph and publications such as Le Monde in France and El Pais in Spain, the 24 leaders argue that a treaty similar to that reached in the wake of World War Two is needed to build cross-border cooperation.
The signatories, who include the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, say: “At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system.
“The aims were clear: 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 co-operation – namely peace, prosperity, health, and security.”
The leaders say that in the same spirit, countries must now “be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion”.
A new treaty would help to establish better systems for alerting people about potential pandemics, they say, while also improving the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment.
“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”
The letter adds: “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 co-operation that extends beyond this crisis.”
The joint article comes in the wake of disagreement between the UK and the EU over vaccines after the bloc introduced tougher export controls on jabs produced there.
The UK and the World Health Organization warned against blockades, while the EU blamed pharmaceutical companies – primarily AstraZeneca – for not delivering promised doses.