COVID-19 devastated the world.

COVID-19 devastated the world.

Imagine if we could prevent future outbreaks from escalating into pandemics.

The only way to do it is for countries to work together and hold each other accountable.

The modern world is interconnected, and infectious diseases easily cross borders. Though we cannot entirely prevent outbreaks, we can slow or stop pandemics before they kill millions — if we put in place a new way to respond together, as a global community.

We were unequipped to respond to COVID-19 because there was no global governance structure with the authority to monitor, inspect and hold actors accountable, and to coordinate the world response. As a result, countries did not follow existing legally binding International Health Regulations or emerging science-based public health recommendations.

We need fresh and independent thinking to get us to work together in a new way.

How to Prevent the Next Pandemic:

We consulted with global experts across borders and sectors to determine what a new global public health security convention would need to best prevent, prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. A strong, effective treaty needs to:

Focus on Prevention

A strong surveillance system would identify issues before they become emergencies.

Require Transparency

Governments must immediately and openly disclose outbreaks, share timely data, and allow independent monitoring of preparedness and response.

Advance a Whole Government Approach

Heads of state should negotiate and approve the treaty, and assume responsibility for compliance, while ensuring that whole governments are prepared to adhere to the treaty since pandemics affect every aspect of society: health of populations, economies and job markets, education, trade, international relations, and more.

Guarantee Authority & Coordination

There is a need for an international body, such as the global health threats council or board that has the authority to coordinate a global response based on the guidelines established by the World Health Organization.

Ensure Compliance

There must also be a body tasked with monitoring and inspecting countries for compliance to agreed-upon preparedness and response responsibilities, including offering valuable incentives to entice countries to comply — and disincentives for when they don’t. The body tasked with compliance would need to link to international financing organizations.

Include Funding

Low- and middle-income countries need financing for preparedness and response. Global agencies involved in pandemic prevention must have enough committed funds to enable them to be independent, effective, and responsive to outbreaks with pandemic potential. An existing body may be able to administer and disperse funds to help low and middle-income countries comply, or new methods or systems could be enabled within existing institutions.

Read more in the GPHC Manifesto to learn what it will take to prevent another global public health catastrophe.