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Publication: A Pandemic Treaty, Revised International Health Regulations, or Both?

Publication: A Pandemic Treaty, Revised International Health Regulations, or Both?


Published on November 12, 2021

Focusing on a possible “pandemic treaty”, Mary Wiktorowicz, associate director of the Dahdaleh Institute, has co-authored a commentary in BMC Globalization and Health.

The World Health Assembly will be convening a special session in late 2021 to consider developing a so-called “pandemic treaty”— a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response. The commentary reviews the strengths and limitations of the International Health Regulations (IHR) as the principal governing instrument to prevent and mitigate future pandemics and suggests that more advanced multi-sectoral measures are needed, though a pandemic treaty would have both potential benefits and drawbacks. The authors write, “It would be a means of addressing the gross inequity in global vaccine distribution and other gaps in the IHR, but it would also need more involvement at the negotiation table of countries in the Global South, significant funding, and likely many years to adopt.”

The authors conclude that IHR reform should be undertaken, while this does not preclude a possible pandemic treaty—the two options are not mutually exclusive.

Labonté, R., Wiktorowicz, M., Packer, C. et al. (2021). A pandemic treaty, revised international health regulations, or both? Global Health17,128.


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Mary E. Wiktorowicz, Associate Director (Acting Director Sept 2023-Feb 2024)

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