I have three points.
Point one regards vision: the International Health Regulations and the pandemic instrument should together set the rules that ensure an outbreak does not result in a devastating pandemic. Outbreaks are inevitable. But the political decisions made by Member States can avert devastating pandemics.
The vision in the draft zero is too limited. This draft assumes pandemics will occur. Pandemics should be effectively prevented and prepared for. Prevention and preparedness should set the tone and ambition for both instruments, with preparedness ensuring rapid, transparent alerts and the capacities to respond.
Point two: To contain pandemic threats, infectious disease outbreaks with pandemic potential must be contained where and when they occur with appropriate tools. The provisions in the zero draft address equitable access to health countermeasures but in a piecemeal fashion. We recommend language that explicitly recognizes the need to create an end-to-end system for equitable access to health countermeasures, underpinned by a common goods approach. The ecosystem must build equity in from the research and development phase. In our view, this requires regional and sub-regional networked research and development hubs, with open access to technology platforms to adapt tools to contain health threats.
Point three: Accountability. We agree with others who believe accountability must include independent monitoring, which should be explicitly built into this draft. We would welcome an independent expert group for continuous monitoring, which could, for example, be modelled on the IPCC associated with the climate convention.
*This two-minute statement was made during Agenda item 3 of the 4th meeting of the INB. As the Right Honourable Helen Clark was travelling, it was delivered by Christine McNab, former member of The Independent Panel’s Secretariat.