Global accountability to prevent pandemics

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GPHC Panel Launches with a Call for a Powerful New Global Public Health Convention

LONDON & MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today marks the official launch of a Panel for a Global Public Health Convention (GPHC), an independent coalition of global leaders working to promote the adoption of a new global public health treaty or convention to ensure another pandemic like COVID-19 does not happen again.

The Panel is guided by a set of recommendations which call for such treaty to be ratified by heads of state as a legally binding instrument. It needs to be bolstered by incentives and mechanisms necessary to ensure timely cooperation, transparency, accountability, and above all, compliance. The rules countries agree to should strengthen their ability to prepare, prevent, and respond effectively to public health outbreaks wherever they may occur. The Panel is chaired by Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, and former chief executive of Oxfam GB.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community of nations is overdue for a new comprehensive global public health convention or treaty,” Dame Barbara wrote in an inaugural message on behalf of the Panel to heads of state and high-ranking international officials. “Over the past year, the need for a paradigm shift in the global public health architecture has become abundantly clear because of the devastation exacted by the novel coronavirus on the people across the world.”

The Panel consists of six high-level members and one observer, and its work is informed by an advisory group of global experts in a diverse range of disciplines, including public health, medicine, diplomacy, and economics. The Panel members are:

Barbara M. Stocking, M.A., Dame Commander of the British Empire
Chair, Panel for a Global Public Health Convention
President, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge
Former Chief Executive, Oxfam Great Britain
Chair, Ebola Interim Assessment Panel

Jane Halton, P.S.M., Officer of the Order of Australia
Chair, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
Former President, World Health Assembly
Former Secretary of Australian Department of Finance
Former Secretary of Australian Department of Health

Laura Chinchilla Miranda, M.P.P.
Former President of Costa Rica
Former Vice President and Minister of Justice, Government of Costa Rica

Ricardo B. Leite, M.D.
Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Board, National Parliament of Portugal
President and Founder, UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases

Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D.
University Professor and Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law, Georgetown University
Director, WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law

Jemilah Mahmood, M.D., FRCOG
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Health, Government of Malaysia
Former Under Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Society
Former Chief, UN World Humanitarian Summit

Angel Gurría (Observer)
Secretary-General, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The Panel will direct its activities toward reaching heads of state and senior decision makers across the world – with a particular focus on engagement in relevant dialogues at the World Health Assembly, G20 and G7 summits, United Nations General Assemblies, and other multilateral forums.

The impetus for the creation of the Panel came from a research study titled “A Global Public Health Convention for the 21st Century,” which will be published in the Lancet Public Health journal in May 2021. This study was conducted by the University of Miami under the leadership of Prof. José Szapocznik, Ph.D., and with the support of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Anicca Liu
Project Manger, Panel for a Global Public Health Convention