An Effective Pandemic Treaty Requires Accountability

The lack of accountability and compliance with international health agreements is one of the major limitations of the existing global health security architecture. Raising awareness to this issue, in the context of the international agreement that is presently being negotiated by member states of the World Health Organization (WHO), is of critical importance.

Ensuring that countries and multilateral organizations remain answerable for their respective obligations is necessary to accomplish the objective of effectively preparing, preventing and, if necessary, responding to infectious disease outbreaks of pandemic potential. 

Accountability requires the use of safeguards that include transparency, monitoring, and oversight, as well as incentives and disincentives for compliance.

Accountability for equitable and fair commitments should be at the heart of any newly negotiated agreement. As elaborated by members of our Group, who were authors in a comment published in the Lancet Public Health – “An effective pandemic treaty requires accountability” – for a global agreement to be successful in preventing and mitigating pandemics, standards must be set, and countries and international bodies held accountable to their commitments and obligations under those standards. 

The content of this comment echoes findings of a study that has been published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by former Group Member and Director of the WHO Collaboration Centre on Global Governance of Antimicrobial Resistance, Steven Hoffman, JD, PHD, LLD, and colleagues who concluded that enforcement mechanisms are vital to maximize the chances of a treaty achieving its intended effect.



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