Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks at a press conference after the WHO emergency committee's meeting on the novel coronavirus in China at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Qu)
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

More than 25 leaders from “the G20, G7 and from every region” have united in urgent call for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response, chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

The pandemic treaty would be a generational commitment to keeping the world safe from new pathogens with pandemic potential in the future, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

At a WHO press briefing, Tedros said that there is “an acknowledgment and humility from those leaders that collectively the world was not prepared for the first coronavirus pandemic ever seen and that going forward we must collectively do better in future outbreaks.”

This week, the leaders have been joining the call for a pandemic treaty that is expected to prepare the world for new pathogens with pandemic potential in the future, which, according to Tedros, is “not a matter of if but when.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the WHO said in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s, and that no single government or multilateral agency can address other pandemics and major health emergencies in the future.

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, said the statement, adding that the treaty would be rooted in the WHO constitution and supported by existing global health instruments, especially the International Health Regulations.

“We are convinced that it is our responsibility, as leaders of nations and international institutions, to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

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