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WHO Chief Urges Global Pandemic Agreement Delivery at Dubai Summit


During his speech at the World Governments Summit 2024 in Dubai, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a strong warning about the imminent threat of the next pandemic. He urged countries to adopt the 'Pandemic Agreement' to effectively contain future outbreaks.

Reflecting on his warning six years ago at the WGS 2018 about the lack of global preparedness for a pandemic, Dr. Tedros emphasized that the world was unprepared when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in December 2019. Despite some advancements in surveillance and vaccine production, he stressed that the world remains inadequately prepared for future pandemics.

Dr. Tedros highlighted the need to learn from the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, cautioning that history shows the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if. He referred to the possibility of a future pandemic caused by an influenza virus, a new coronavirus, or an unknown pathogen referred to as 'Disease X.'

In response to the lessons learned from COVID-19, member states of the WHO met in December 2021 and agreed to develop a legally binding international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response. Dr. Tedros urged countries to prioritize completing and adopting this agreement within the 15-week deadline set for the World Health Assembly in May.

Addressing misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the agreement, Dr. Tedros clarified that it does not grant WHO power over sovereign states but rather emphasizes collaboration to strengthen health systems and share resources. He urged policymakers to seize the opportunity to protect the health and well-being of future generations, emphasizing the importance of collective responsibility in building a healthier, safer, and fairer world.

Expressing gratitude, Dr. Tedros thanked the UAE leadership for prioritizing health in the climate agenda during COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference held in Dubai. He also acknowledged the UAE's support for the WHO global logistics hub in Dubai, which played a crucial role in distributing medical supplies to emergency situations worldwide.

Feb. 13, 2024 3:06 p.m. 1430

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