The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Monday called upon all countries to support a proposed pandemic preparedness treaty, warning that it would be a "monumental error" to think the danger of COVID-19 has passed.
Tedros made the call in his closing remarks at the World Health Assembly, noting that "this is an idea whose time has come."
"…the one recommendation that I believe will do most to strengthen both WHO and global health security is the recommendation for a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response; that could also improve, as I said earlier, the relationship between Member States, and fosters cooperation," the WHO chief said.
He noted that the world needs a lasting commitment whose sustainability is embedded in a formal treaty.
"At present, pathogens have greater power than WHO. They are emerging more frequently in a planet out of balance," said Tedros.
"They exploit our interconnectedness and expose our inequities and divisions. The safety of the world's people cannot rely solely on the goodwill of governments."
The pandemic preparedness treaty was first fronted in March with the aim of obligating all countries to unite in the fight against any future pandemics, alienating nationalistic tendencies that prompt nations to seek singular responses to the crises.
The proposal was supported by more than 20 global leaders and officials from across Europe, Africa, South Africa and Asia, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied, Senegalese President Macky Sall, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
WHO has been vocal on the need to unite globally to defeat the virus. From synchronizing national strategies to sharing critical scientific data, the agency's Director-General has repeatedly called upon all nations to dovetail their responses to global strategies.