Pakistan calls for ‘fully equipped’ global accord to fight pandemics

GENEVA, Nov 30 (APP):Amid a global alert over the new Omicron variant, Pakistan has called for a fully equipped and adequately resourced global health security framework that responds effectively to future pandemics.

Speaking during a special three-day meeting of the World Health Organization’s governing body on Monday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Khalil Hashmi said that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.

The World Health Assembly meeting was convened to decide on the issue of a so-called “pandemic treaty”.

The coronavirus pandemic, he said, had exposed the fragilities of and gaps in the existing global health security architecture: its governance and legal framework as well as how challenges of resource and capacity constraints have impeded enforcement.

“This special session is therefore significant in charting a path, hopefully, towards a robust, resilient, equitable and effective international response to prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Pakistan, Ambassador Hashmi said shared WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ concerns that the lack of sharing of COVID-19 related medical countermeasures has hindered the collective ability to prevent infections and save lives.

In this regard, he urged countries opposing a waiver of intellectual property protections at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to revisit their positions and align their support for a future instrument.

“The gap between the two approaches must be bridged, to save lives now and in the future,” the Pakistani envoy said.

He outlined some of the essential elements that should be incorporated into a future instrument or a framework.

The instrument must:

— have ave an organic co-relation between its principles, objectives, tools and means of implementation;
— prioritize the principle of equity and public interest over other considerations in times of global health emergency.
— strike a prudent balance between rights and obligations of states, considering the varied level of development, responsibilities and capacities.
— incorporate sustainable and adequate financing mechanism and assess the compatibility the existing governance and financing model of the WHO with future instrument.

“Let us re-affirm our commitment to a fully equipped and adequately resourced global health security architecture that responds effectively to future pandemics and contributes to the achievement of the goal of universal health coverage by the end of this decade,” Ambassador Hashmi added.