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About the Independent Panel

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General in response to the World Health Assembly resolution 73.1.

The mission of the Independent Panel is to provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.

It will do so by providing a fresh assessment of the challenges ahead, based on insights and lessons learned from the health response to COVID-19 as coordinated by WHO as well as previous health emergencies.

The Independent Panel began its impartial, independent and comprehensive review in September 2020. It will present a report to the 74th World Health Assembly scheduled for May 2021.

The sections below describe the Panel’s areas of focus, ways of working, meeting schedule and Secretariat. For more information about The Independent Panel’s work and processes see also our Questions and Answers page.


Areas of Focus

As per WHA Resolution 73.1, the Independent Panel will review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19 including:

  • the effectiveness of the mechanisms at WHO’s disposal;
  • the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) and the status of implementation of the relevant recommendations of previous IHR Review Committees;
  • WHO’s contribution to United Nations-wide efforts; and the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Independent Panel will make recommendations on how to improve capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, including through strengthening, as appropriate, the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

The Panel’s Program of Work builds on the areas of focus of the WHA resolution and its Terms of Reference. The Program is organized around four main interconnected themes for enquiry: 

  1. Build on the past: Learn from previous pandemics and the status of the system and actors pre-COVID-19. 
  2. Review the present: Analyse the accurate chronology of events and activities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations made by WHO, and the responses by national governments.
  3. Understand the Impacts: Review how health systems and communities responded and assess the direct and indirect impacts of both the pandemic and the response measures.
  4. Change for the future: An analysis and vision for a strengthened international system ideally equipped for pandemic preparedness and response.

The Independent Panel will work towards crafting recommendations which are both bold and practical including assigning owners, proposed timescales for completion, and financial and human resources in its recommendations. A variety of research methods and stakeholder engagement strategies will be employed by the Independent Panel to pursue this work. This can include mapping existing reviews, desk research, in-depth interviews, mini-symposia and expert consultations, commissioning papers on key topics, case studies and calls for contributions through the website.

Ways of Working

The Independent Panel will conduct an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review. Panelists are drawing from their expertise and experiences and are not representing their institutions or governments. 

The Independent Panel is financed from WHO’s assessed contributions. It will not accept additional contribution in cash or in kind. The panel members are making their contributions on a voluntary and non-remunerated basis.

The Independent Panel will work in a manner that is as open and transparent as possible. It will reach out to the world’s best possible expertise and experiences and will listen to different stakeholders’ perspectives, including those of Member States, civil society, academia, the private sector and the general public. Data and evidence will guide the work of the Independent Panel.  

Meetings and Reporting

Currently, there are panel meetings scheduled every six weeks. They began 17 September 2020 and are scheduled to last through April 2021. These meetings will mainly be virtual given COVID-19 travel restrictions, and are open only to Panel members and the Secretariat.

The Independent Panel will report in the following ways:

  • Briefings and Reports to WHO Governing Bodies
    • The Co-chairs briefed the WHO Executive Board at its scheduled session on 5-6 October.
    • A first progress report will be presented at the resumed 73rd World Health Assembly scheduled from 9-14 November.
    • A second progress report will be presented to the WHO Executive Board scheduled from 18-26 January 2021.
    • A report will be presented to the 74th World Health Assembly scheduled from 24 May to 1 June 2021.
  •  The Co-Chairs will also brief Member States at regularly scheduled briefings in Geneva. 

Reports and other documents related to these meetings will be published promptly and can be accessed on our website.

The Secretariat

The Independent Panel is supported by its own independent Secretariat, based on the Geneva Health Campus.

The Secretariat will prepare Panel meetings, produce and commission analytical reports and research at the request of the Panel, proactively maintain communication with and on behalf of the Co-Chairs and Panel, and provide day-to-day monitoring and follow-up on Panel priorities and recommendations.

The Head of the Secretariat is Anders Nordström, who has taken leave as Ambassador for Global Health at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the duration of the Independent Panel.

Secretariat Members

Anders Nordström
Head of Secretariat

Mathias Bonk
Project Management Officer

Helena Legido-Quigley
Analyst

Salma Abdalla
Analyst

Shun Mabuchi
Analyst

Michael Bartos
Lead Editor

Christine McNab
Communication Lead

Celeste Canlas
Project Officer

The Secretariat receives additional support from:

Sudhvir Singh
Advisor to Rt Hon. Clark, Co-Chair

Raj Panjabi
Advisor to President Sirleaf, Co-Chair

George Kronnisanyon Werner
Advisor and Coordinator
Office of President Sirleaf, Co-Chair

The Secretariat can be contacted at Secretariat@ipppr.org

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