New COVID-19 Law Lab to Provide Vital Legal Information and Support for Global Response to COVID-19


Launched today, the COVID-19 Law Lab initiative brings together and shares legal documents from more than 190 countries around the world to help states establish and implement strong legal frameworks to manage the pandemic. The aim is to ensure that laws protect the health and well-being of individuals and communities and that they respect international human rights standards.The new lab (at is a joint project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

Well-designed laws can help build strong health systems; to evaluate and approve safe and effective drugs and vaccines; and implement measures to create healthier and safer public spaces and workplaces. Essentially, they are essential for the effective implementation of the WHO International Health Regulations: surveillance; infection prevention and control; travel and trade management; and the implementation of measures to maintain essential health services.

“Laws and policies based on science, evidence and human rights can enable people to access health services, protect themselves from COVID-19 and live free from stigma, discrimination and violence,” says Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP. “The COVID-19 Law Lab is an important tool for sharing best practices on laws and policies.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a sharp increase in urgent legislative measures to control and reduce the pandemic.

“Strong legal frameworks are essential for national responses to COVID-19,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Laws that have an impact on health are often not the responsibility of the health sector. As health is global, legal frameworks need to be aligned with international commitments to address current and emerging public health risks. A solid foundation of health law is more important than ever. ”

However, poorly designed, implemented or enforced laws can harm marginalized populations, reinforce stigma and discrimination, and hamper efforts to end the pandemic.

“Harmful laws can exacerbate stigma and discrimination, undermine human rights and undermine public health responses,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “To ensure that responses to the pandemic are effective, humane and sustainable, governments must use the law as a tool to uphold the human rights and dignity of those affected by COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 Law Lab is a database of laws that countries have implemented in response to the pandemic. This includes state of emergency declarations, quarantine measures, disease surveillance, legal measures relating to wearing masks, social distancing and access to medicines and vaccines. The database will continue to grow as new countries and themes are added.

He will also present research on different legal frameworks for COVID-19. These analyzes will focus on the effects of public health laws on human rights and help countries identify best practices to guide their immediate COVID-19 responses and socio-economic recovery efforts once the pandemic hits. controlled. It builds on the work of the UHC Legal Solutions Network, which was established to help countries achieve universal health coverage through the implementation of rights-based legal frameworks.

“We need to monitor and evaluate how laws and policies are used during the pandemic to understand what is working,” said Dr Matthew M. Kavanagh, professor in the Department of International Health at Georgetown University. Katie Gottschalk, Executive Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center added: “We need to learn from the early stages of pandemic policies to implement the most effective laws. effective in the future – the COVID-19 Lab law allows us to do just that. “

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Together with our vast network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations build integrated and sustainable solutions for people and the planet.

Learn more at or follow on @UNDP.

About who

the World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, in six regions and more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the most vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to achieve universal health coverage for one billion more people, to protect one billion more people from health emergencies and to provide one billion people with better health and well-being. For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from the coronavirus, visit and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube


The Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 United Nations organizations – UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank – and works closely with global and national partners to end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030. part of the sustainable development goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and Georgetown University

The O’Neill Institute, located at Georgetown University, was established to create innovative solutions to the most pressing national and international health problems, with the essential vision that the law has been and will remain a fundamental tool to solve critical health issues. Georgetown University’s Department of International Health hosts scholarships in public health, economics, political science, and medicine. Georgetown’s Global Health Initiative serves as a university-wide platform to develop concrete solutions to health issues facing families and communities around the world. Learn more at and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the UHC Legal Solutions Network

The COVID-19 Law Lab is a product of the UHC Legal Solutions Network is a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. The initiative aims to help countries achieve universal health coverage by working with policymakers, civil society groups and other stakeholders to develop laws that ensure that all people and communities have the right to access health care. promotional, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need. , of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial difficulties.


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