'Biggest challenge since WWII': World leaders call for pandemic treaty

Siddhant Pandey
·3-min read

30 Mar 2021: 'Biggest challenge since WWII': World leaders call for pandemic treaty

Over a year into the coronavirus pandemic, 24 world leaders recognized it as the "greatest challenge" since World War II and called for an international treaty.

The leaders include United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 127.7 million people have been infected and nearly 2.8 million people have died.

Details: 'Nobody is safe until everyone is safe'

In a joint letter, published in newspapers around the world, the leaders argued that COVID-19 is the greatest challenge since World War II, adding that "nobody is safe until everyone is safe."

A treaty, similar to one reached in the wake of World War Two, is required to build cross-border cooperation as "no single government... can address this threat alone," the leaders stressed.

Treaty: Treaty would be milestone in pandemic preparedness: Letter

"We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response," the letter said, adding that such a move would be a "milestone" in pandemic preparedness.

"It would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organization, drawing in other relevant organizations key to this endeavor, in support of the principle of health for all," it added.

Goal: What is the goal of the treaty?

The treaty's goal would be to "foster an all of government and all of the society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics," the letter said.

The letter calls for enhancing international co-operation to improve alert systems, data-sharing, research and local, etc.

It also highlighted a 'One Health' approach connecting the health of humans, animals, and our planet.

Fact: Treaty will work with heads of states, all stakeholders

According to the letter, the treaty will work with the heads of state and governments globally, and all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector. "It is our responsibility... to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter stated.

Quote: 'Must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess pandemics'

The letter said, "No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe," it said.

Signatories: Who are the letter's signatories?

The letter's signatories include Johnson, Macron, Merkel, and the PMs of Fiji (JV Bainimarama), Greece (Kyriakos Mitsotakis), Spain (Pedro Sánchez), et al.

The Presidents of Romania (Klaus Iohannis), Rwanda (Paul Kagame), Kenya (Uhuru Kenyatta), European Council (Charles Michel), Korea (Moon Jae-in) are also among the signatories.

Apart from the 23 heads of states, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had also signed the letter.