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Fighting pandemics: equity as the backbone of global health governance

By 29 November 2021No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need for the international community to improve the way we approach global health, and how we manage health threats collectively. The pandemic forces us to rethink our model of cooperation, by putting the spotlight on our interdependence and the flaws of the international system.

What is the purpose of global cooperation, if it consolidates inequalities between and among countries? Our challenge in coming years will be putting equitable access at the heart of the political debate in every phase of pandemic preparedness and response and avoiding the further polarization of privileged and under-severed countries.

Health equity could be defined as follows: the right for all human beings to have access to efficient health systems, medical tools, and scientific advancements regardless of their social, economic, and geographical condition.

With the forthcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) Special Session taking place from November 29th to December 1st, 2021, there is an urgent need to prioritize equitable access and global cooperation.

This discussion paper explores the role of equity in the pandemic preparedness and response (PPR) political dialogue, through an analysis of current and future global health mechanisms, identifying shortcomings in the global health governance architecture. The WHA Special Session will discuss calls to reform the International Health Regulations (IHR) and establish a new International Treaty for Pandemics. If adopted, this treaty would be the second legislative document under the binding normative authority held by the World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution, twenty years after the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Therefore, negotiations constitute an important occasion to reshape global cooperation around health equity. This paper provides avenues for a new global deal.

Download the full discussion paper