Ukraine joins International Pandemic Treaty / Photo from UNIAN

Ukraine has joined hands with more than 20 countries for a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response, as well as the equitable and fair distribution of vaccines.

The relevant communiqué on the International Pandemic Treaty was signed by the leaders of Fiji, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, Kenya, France, Germany, Greece, the Republic of Korea, Chile, Costa Rica, Albania, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Indonesia, Ukraine, as well as Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President of the European Council Charles Michel, as reported by the Office of the President of Ukraine.

"Today, we hold the same hope that as we fight to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations. There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion," the communiqué reads.

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Read alsoUkraine could receive first batch of vaccines from COVAX before Apr 15 – Health chiefThe signatories said they are committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics. "Immunization is a global public good and we will need to be able to develop, manufacture and deploy vaccines as quickly as possible," the document says.

"This is why the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) was set up in order to promote equal access to tests, treatments and vaccines and support health systems across the globe. ACT-A has delivered on many aspects but equitable access is not achieved yet. There is more we can do to promote global access," it says.

The leaders believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

"Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level. It would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organization, drawing in other relevant organizations key to this endeavour, in support of the principle of health for all. Existing global health instruments, especially the International Health Regulations, would underpin such a treaty, ensuring a firm and tested foundation on which we can build and improve," it said.

What is more, the treaty is aimed at fostering an all-of-government and all-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics.

"This includes greatly enhancing international cooperation to improve, for example, alert systems, data-sharing, research, and local, regional and global production and distribution of medical and public health counter measures, such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment. It would also include recognition of a 'One Health' approach that connects the health of humans, animals and our planet. And such a treaty should lead to more mutual accountability and shared responsibility, transparency and cooperation within the international system and with its rules and norms," the communiqué says.

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