Press Releases European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel during a joint press conference with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel during a joint press conference with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening everyone.

Today we are calling for an international Treaty on Pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic is indeed much more than “just a health” issue.

It has cut across every sector of our societies. Highlighting our strengths and exposing our weaknesses. And above all, it has taught us one brutal lesson – no country, no continent can defeat a pandemic alone. It requires a global approach. The “us” rather than the “me”. And a collective commitment at the highest political level.

The next pandemic is not a question of “if”, but “when”. So we must be ready. We have no time to waste.

This Treaty on Pandemics would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organisation. It will support the principle of “health for all”. And through this treaty, our main goal is to foster a comprehensive approach to better predict, prevent, and respond to pandemics; to strengthen global capacities and resilience; to ensure fair access to medical solutions; and to bolster international alert systems, data-sharing, and cutting-edge medical research.

We affirm the importance of a “One Health” approach that connects the health of humans, animals and our planet. And for this global approach to work, we need more transparency, more accountability, and more shared responsibility in the international system.

COVID-19 has been a harsh reminder – no one is safe until everyone is safe. That’s why leaders from every region of the world have come together to propose collective action at international level.

Immunisation is a global public good. So we need to be able to develop, manufacture and deploy vaccines as quickly as possible. We also need to ensure universal and equitable access to vaccines, medicines, and tests.

COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses and divisions across our societies. Now it’s time to come together as one global community. To build a pandemic defence for future generations, that extends far beyond today’s crisis. For this, we must translate the political will into concrete actions. Just like after the atrocities of World War II, visionary leaders came together, to build a multilateral model and to strengthen international cooperation.

Today more than ever, it is our responsibility, as leaders, to ensure that our pandemic preparedness – and our global health systems – are fit for the 21st century.

Today we are guided by a spirit of collective solidarity, anchored in the principles of fairness, inclusiveness and transparency. Let’s work together – to leave a legacy we can all be proud of. Thank you

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International Pandemic Treaty (background information)

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