News Release

A treaty to break the pandemic cycle

Reports and Proceedings

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

When developing an initial draft of a “pandemic treaty” – a task the World Health Organization Member States have assigned the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to complete by August 2022 – the INB should not focus solely on matters of human health, say Alexandra L. Phelan and Colin J. Carlson in this Policy Forum. “This untenable approach ignores key lessons from the last two years, and well before,” they write. “A better option is a treaty that (pro)actively brings cohesion to international law and the haphazard governance that left the world vulnerable to both the risks and impacts of Covid-19.” In their Policy Forum, Phelan and Carlson identify 12 elements for a cohesive, transformative, and evidence-based pandemic treaty that could move global health governance beyond the limited scope of international health regulations that exist today. Its elements would focus on every step of the pandemic cycle, including reducing spillover risk, reducing pandemic risk, reducing pandemic impacts, and ensuring recovery and resilience. “Every remaining moment is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to negotiate an ambitious and equitable treaty, and fight for provisions that materially improve the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems,” the authors conclude.

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