The world is not preparing sufficiently for an upcoming pandemic, which could then prove to be “even more devastating” than that of COVID-19, an international panel warned on Monday, which calls for global cooperation and long-term funding .
“If we do not learn the lessons of COVID-19 or if we do not act by putting the necessary means and commitment into it, the next pandemic – which is a certainty – will be even more devastating”, points out keeps the Global Preparedness Oversight Board (GPMB), an independent oversight body launched in 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.
In its annual report, the GPMB complains about the little progress made despite the recommendations it made in its report last year, before the new coronavirus crisis.
“The impact of COVID-19 is even worse than what we had expected and the measures that we recommended (…) have still not been taken”, indignant Gro Harlem Brundtland, co-chair of this Council and former patron of the WHO.
“Tragically and catastrophically, our worst fears have come true,” she added.
From an economic point of view, “it would take 500 years to spend on preparations the money that the world is losing because of COVID-19”, underlines the Council, to conclude: “the return on investment of a pandemic preparedness is immense ”.
The report therefore calls once again for political leaders to take responsibility, engage in increased cooperation and plan long-term funding to prepare for a next pandemic.
The GPMB also suggests convening an international summit under the auspices of the UN, WHO, World Bank and other international financial institutions to discuss a global framework for emergency preparedness and how to ‘answer to.
According to Ms. Brundtland, “predictable and sustainable funding at the scale required” should be one of the pillars of this system.