Pandemic Action Network Statement on the UN High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response political declaration (Sept. 20, 2023).
The UN High Level Meeting (HLM) for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (Pandemic PPR) was a historic moment for leaders to signal the importance of collective action to end pandemics. Although we are pleased that they overcame geopolitical tensions that threatened the passage of any declaration, we remain disappointed by the compromise text that lacked clear resolve, as well as the HLM with minimal participation from heads of state and government, and unacceptably low representation from civil society.
The HLM on Pandemic PPR political declaration was a missed opportunity for leaders to make ambitious commitments to prevent the next pandemic and enshrine accountability for the future. As negotiations continue through the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for a Pandemic Accord at the World Health Organization and Member States consider amendments to the International Health Regulations, an ambitious political declaration held promise to elevate political leadership, enshrine whole-of-society ownership, and establish accountability for the global pandemic preparedness agenda. Unfortunately, the final text represented lowest common denominator agreements, and leaders largely used the HLM platform to tout actions and investments already underway — not establish the transformative global roadmap we need to collectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to the next pandemic. Pandemic Action Network applauds action — but much more is needed. We urge partners to continue to hold leaders and ministers to account, and sign on to an open letter from more than 100 organizations globally calling for the 79th UN General Assembly to report on progress made on our agenda for action on pandemic PPR over the next year.
Aggrey Aluso, who represented Pandemic Action Network at the HLM on Pandemic PPR, stated, “Equity in pandemic PPR is too important to be optional; leaders must agree on standing mechanisms to elevate and sustain political leadership and accountability for pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response at the highest level of government. Pandemics are a collective security threat that require independent monitoring and continued vigilance and oversight, reviewing global progress on an annual basis, as we do for the global threat of climate change.”
Together, we must bring new urgency and political resolve to prevent the next pandemic crisis and then report progress at the next UN General Assembly in September 2024 on these actions:
- Elevate, facilitate, and sustain political leadership on pandemic PPR as an urgent global, regional, and national priority, taking a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to ensure vigilance, and implement a set of robust and independent pandemic PPR monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
- Reach consensus on both a Pandemic Accord and a global, standing platform to ensure timely, equitable, and affordable universal access to, and delivery of pandemic countermeasures.
- Commit to secure the additional, long-term financing needed to close critical pandemic PPR funding gaps including US$10.5 billion annually to the Pandemic Fund and a fully and sustainably financed pandemic countermeasure platform ready with surge financing.
- Accelerate multisectoral pandemic PPR approaches and investments to build better prepared cross-government systems, as well as “always on” end-to-end public health and life science ecosystems.
The current and future co-facilitators of the Pandemic PPR HLM must prioritize bold leadership on pandemic preparedness and get COVID-19 response action back on track as a key part of addressing the world’s interlocking crises. Leaders and advocates must continue to build momentum and avoid another lethal and costly pandemic.