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UN pandemic prevention accord ‘a big step forward’

  • 22 Sep 2023

There’s a sense of urgency at the 2023 United Nations High-Level meetings to develop a joint declaration to better prepare for future pandemics, according to Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb.

In New York to attend the first heads-of-state summit on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, Professor Crabb said: "I don’t think we would be any better prepared if there was a new pandemic tomorrow. That’s why this process is so important."

World leaders adopted a non-binding political declaration calling for stronger international collaboration and coordination, including the need to tackle inequities and stamp out practices such as vaccine hoarding by wealthier nations.

“We have to bring everyone along not just because it's the morally right thing to do, but because you're only as strong as your weakest link in a pandemic,” Professor Crabb told the ABC’s PM program.

He said the process of moving towards a binding agreement in the next six months will be difficult.

"All of that’s going be really tough, [including] how to get vaccines shared and how to get data shared," Professor Crabb said.

"But wow, [the agreement] was a catalytic step today, and if we’ve got any chance of doing it better next time, I think we’ll look back on today as a big step forward."

Click here to listen to the ABC PM report and find out more about the UN Declaration on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.