World leaders, including Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, published a letter Tuesday calling for a pandemic treaty to improve cooperation and transparency in the case of future outbreaks.
The idea behind such a treaty is to ensure universal and equitable access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for pandemics.
In a joint article published in newspapers across the world, leaders argued that the Covid-19 crisis had posed the “greatest challenge for the global community since the late 1940s.”
The document was signed by more than 20 global leaders and officials from across Europe, Africa, South Africa and Asia, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
However, both China and the U.S. — which have locked horns numerous times during the pandemic, with accusations of a lack of transparency, propaganda and misinformation — were missing from the list.
There will be another pandemic
“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone,” the leaders wrote in a joint opinion article in major newspapers.
“We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response,” they said.
The main goal of such a treaty would be to strengthen the world’s resilience to future pandemics through better alert systems, data sharing, research and the production and distribution of vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment, they said.
The treaty would also state that the health of humans, animals and the planet are all connected and should lead to shared responsibility, transparency and cooperation globally.
“We are convinced that it is our responsibility, as leaders of nations and international institutions, to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the leaders wrote.
The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as European Council President Charles Michel, one of the first officials to call for an international agreement aimed at tackling future pandemics, also signed the letter.
The letter comes ahead of the WHO’s expected presentation of its joint investigation with China into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is largely expected to reiterate its initial findings presented last month.