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Coronavirus: High-level panel urges more investments to prepare the world for future pandemics

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A high-level panel mandated by the Group of 20 (G-20) to reflect on ways to reduce the planet’s vulnerability to emergencies has called for increased investment and stronger global governance to shield the world from future pandemics.

The world is far from ready to prevent or stop the next pandemic, the panel said in a report issued in Venice on Friday on the occasion of the meeting of Finance Ministers of the G-20, made up of 19 countries and the European Union.

It noted that “the next pandemic […] could come at any time, in the next decade or even in the next year and could even be more profoundly damaging to human security.”

The world needs to draw lessons from this pandemic to be ready for the next one, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a member of the panel, said at a press conference.

The report notes the need to increase public funding by at least 75 billion dollars in the next five years. This increase, which would amount to 15 billion dollars per year, would allow for the establishment of a coordinated surveillance and research network that would focus on infectious diseases, resilient health systems, global vaccine-producing capacity and global governance.

The report also recommends the creation of a council on global health threats, comprising Health and Finance ministers as well as representatives of international organisations, whose mission would include systemic financial surveillance, fast, effective resource mobilization, and improved coordination of international efforts to attenuate pandemic threats.

The panel’s recommendations will be studied at the next meeting of G-20 Finance and Health ministers in October.

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic “is still here,” said Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, launching an appeal for vaccination to be accelerated worldwide, as many emerging countries have only vaccinated a tiny percentage of their populations.

The G-20 has acted well by trying to give the vaccines, support their production and distribution, but more needs to be done,” she urged.

The Brussels Times