The coronavirus experience has shown the need for a global treaty on the coordinated management of pandemics, writes a group of 23 world leaders led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
- COVID-19 showed that “nobody is safe until everybody is safe,” the leaders say in an article published in a series of newspapers across the world including the Daily Telegraph in Britain, Le Monde in France and El País in Spain.
- A treaty similar to those signed after World War II, when “political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system,” is needed, the signatories argue.
- Such a pact should “dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism,” provide for systems to alert people about future pandemics, and improve the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and protective equipment.
- As the pandemic “has exploited our weaknesses and divisions, we must seize this opportunity and come together as a global community for peaceful cooperation that extends beyond this crisis,” write the article’s authors.
The outlook: The article is published just as the U.K. and the European Union are engaged in talks to put an end to several weeks of bickering over vaccine exports, with the EU’s vaccination drive still trailing the U.K. and the U.S. by far.
If picked up and supported by the world’s other big powers, such a treaty would however take years to negotiate, then ratify. A serious question is whether it could be ready in time for the next major pandemic.