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World leaders urge international pandemic preparedness treaty

More than 20 heads of government and global agencies have called for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations in the wake of COVID-19, in a commentary published today.

But the commentary includes few details to explain how such an agreement might actually compel countries to act more cooperatively.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and leaders including Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, Premier Mario Draghi of Italy and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda propose “a renewed collective commitment” to reinforce preparedness and response systems by leveraging the U.N. health agency’s constitution.

“The world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start planning for the next one,” Tedros says during a news conference. He said the treaty would provide “a framework for international cooperation and solidarity” and address issues like surveillance systems and responding to outbreaks.

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