AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) supports an appeal by The Elders, an influential group of former heads of state and civic leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, urging countries to avoid deadlock in the contentious pandemic accord negotiations under the auspices of the World Health Assembly. The open letter from The Elders and supporting organizations calls for equity, sufficient financing, and accountability among countries to prepare for the next global health crisis.
“Death by fine print is not an option for the pandemic accord. Far too many millions of people have died or have become impoverished during COVID-19 for us to lose sight of the big picture and accept the stalemate,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “World leaders must choose principles of global equity, accountability, and transparency over narrow national interests like intellectual property protections. Another existential public health disaster will surely happen—and if we fail to implement the tragic lessons of COVID-19—the responsibility will lie with those who failed to deliver a strong global public health treaty.”
The deadline for the adoption of the pandemic accord is May 2024. There has been little progress in reaching agreement on several key provisions of the accord related to intellectual property waivers during health emergencies and benefits-sharing from pathogen research between developed and developing countries. There are growing concerns that the World Health Assembly will not meet the adoption deadline this spring. The Panel for a Global Public Health Convention, which was co-created by AHF, is one of the signatories of The Elders’ letter.