According to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper, the Group of 7 (“G7”) – Britain, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – is considering whether to issue a statement on a global pandemic response at the 19-21 May G7 summit in Japan’s city of Hiroshima.
Japan took over the G7 presidency in 2023 but the idea of a ‘Pandemic Treaty’ became a news item two years earlier.
In March 2021, then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson together with other world leaders announced that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response. “It would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organisation … Existing global health instruments, especially the International Health Regulations, would underpin such a treaty,” the announcement said.
The main goal of this treaty would be to foster an all of government and all of society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics. This includes greatly enhancing international co-operation to improve, for example, alert systems, data-sharing, research and local, regional and global production and distribution of medical and public health counter-measures such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment.
It would also include recognition of a “One Health” approach that connects the health of humans, animals and our planet.
No government can address the threat of pandemics alone – we must come together, UK Government, 30 March 2021
Within a couple of months, it was on the agenda at the 74th World Health Assembly (“WHA”) in May 2021: “Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies.” During his WHA closing speech, Tedros the Terrorist said:
“[The WHA] approved a historic resolution on strengthening WHO preparedness and response for emergencies … the reports of the IPPR, the IHR [International Health Regulations] review committee and the IOSC are unanimous in their view that the world needs a stronger WHO at the centre of the global health architecture.
“The theme of this assembly, as you know, is ending this pandemic and preventing the next one … the challenges we face are profound and so must be the solutions we design. Strengthening WHO certainly means strengthening the secretariat but it also means strengthening the bond between member states … The one recommendation that I believe will do most to strengthen both WHO and global health security is the recommendation of a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response.
“We need … an overarching framework for connecting the political, financial and technical mechanisms needed for strengthening global health security … The safety of the world’s people cannot rely solely on the goodwill of governments. Every government is responsible for and accountable to its own people but member states can only truly keep their own people safe if they are accountable to each other at the global level.”