On Sunday, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stressed that the current negotiations must reach a “historic agreement” on pandemics, which would bring about a “paradigm shift” in global health security.
At the opening of the Public Health Assembly, the annual general assembly of the World Health Organization, Tedros said, “We simply cannot continue as we did before,” according to what was reported by the United Nations website in Arabic.
Member states of the World Health Organization have begun negotiations, aimed at reaching an international agreement to ensure a better world, capable of avoiding future pandemics or responding to them more effectively.
The process is still in its initial stages, but the aim is to reach an agreement by May 2024, when the next World Health Assembly takes place.
Opening the 10-day assembly, Tedros said the new pandemic deal now being negotiated must be “historic”, “transforming global health security” and “a recognition that our destinies are intertwined”.
Tedros stressed the need to draw painful lessons from the pandemic, the most important of which is that “common threats cannot be confronted without a joint response.”
“This is the right moment for us to write a new chapter in the history of global health, to chart a new path forward, and to make the world safer for our children and grandchildren,” Tedros continued. Tedros stressed that it became clear during the Covid-19 pandemic that the world “becomes stronger, when it comes together to combat common health threats.”
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in a video address, expressed his hope that the current negotiations on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response will bear fruit, saying: “A strong multilateral approach saves lives.”
East Timor President Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta noted that “every country, big or small, rich or poor, has faced difficulties in preparing an appropriate response to the pandemic,” and said, “This reminds us that we have to build our house before the storm, not during it.”