Pandemic Preparedness

Thank you for contacting me about a potential new international treaty for pandemic preparedness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges to the established international order in recent times. As such, the Prime Minister has suggested that the international community should commit to producing a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

I am told that such a treaty would aim to foster greatly enhanced cooperation in future pandemics, by further embedding the principles of shared responsibility and transparency into the multilateral system. It would also seek material improvements to global alert systems, data-sharing, research, production and distribution of medical technologies, such as vaccines.

Discussions are ongoing at the World Health Organisation to this end. I know that the UK Government will engage with any such proposals, including at the World Health Assembly, with a view to a final outcome that learns the lessons of COVID-19. I think it is highly important that any such treaty is considered by Parliament before being ratified in the UK and that our national sovereignty is respected in any possible future Treaty. I will continue to watch this matter very closely.