Geneva, 30 March 2021 In response to a common call for an International Treaty on Pandemics by the WHO and world leaders today, Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, said:
“We are encouraged by this commitment from the WHO and world leaders today to develop a new treaty on pandemic prevention and response. The COVID-19 response has been hugely impaired by gaps in global cooperation and inequities affecting some of the most vulnerable of our societies. This treaty is an opportunity to address these for the next time.
“We need bold new solutions – both in international and domestic laws – to avoid the same mistakes. These must include a firm commitment to preparedness at all levels of society, including at the community level, and equitable access to testing, vaccines and treatment for all at greatest risk. We must also ensure that health and emergency staff and volunteers are supported to operate safely to provide life-saving aid, and access communities in need. And we must guard against the economic ruin of the poorest and most vulnerable as a result of pandemic responses.
“With our experience in supporting states to develop and implement disaster law and policy around the world, IFRC and its members stand ready to provide their expertise and advice to governments and to support such a treaty to not only be powerful on paper but transformative in reality.”
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.