The new body would be vested with legal powers – cemented by a new International Pandemic Framework Convention – to monitor and test member states’ pandemic plans and response and to “hold actors accountable.”
The new Convention is expected to be signed within six months and, inter alia, “would establish a new global surveillance system based on full transparency”.
“This system would give the WHO the power to publish information on outbreaks with pandemic potential on an immediate basis without the need to seek approval and send experts to investigate as soon as possible,” say the authors. .
Member states would also see their national pandemic plans subject to independent ‘peer review’ and would be asked to organize annual pandemic simulations such as the UK exercise Cygnus in 2016 – although the results have been verified. independently.
The 13-member IPPPR, co-chaired by Ms Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, has spent the past eight months examining the evidence for how Covid-19 has become a pandemic, alongside global responses and national.
When presenting the report and its findings to the press, former President Sirleaf stressed the need for bold reform.
“Our message is simple and clear: the current system has failed to protect us from the Covid-19 pandemic. And if we don’t take action to change it now, it won’t protect us from the next pandemic threat, which could come at any time. “
The report added that the world had been repeatedly warned of the potential threat of a pandemic before the Covid-19 outbreak, but had failed to act.
“The shelves in storage rooms of the United Nations and national capitals are teeming with reports and reviews of past health crises,” President Sirleaf said. “If their warnings had been heeded, we would have avoided the catastrophe we find ourselves in today. This time must be different.
The report also examines how best to end the current pandemic and calls on high-income countries to pledge to deliver “at least a billion” doses of vaccine to the poorest countries by September of this year in order to slow the epidemic on a global scale.