International pandemic instrument must address the root causes of inequity

FCGH Alliance submission to first round of public hearings, written component, regarding a new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response

The international pandemic instrument must address the root causes of inequity within and between countries through advancing the right to health. Such a broader approach would mean incorporating elements such as those proposed for the Framework Convention for Global Health (FCGH) (, with standards and mechanisms that embody the right to health, advancing health equity, and also serving the purpose of a pandemic instrument. The treaty would encompass standards and mechanisms for equitable global and distribution of health resources, enhance people’s trust in their health system, enable people to participate in health-related policy decisions, and improve accountability. In doing this and more, the treaty would pave a path for everyone to enjoy the right to health.

FCGH elements would encompass pandemic preparedness and response, and as appropriate, could include aspects specifically tailored to the pandemic context, such as ensuring equitable distribution of scarce vaccines and therapeutics. But the inequities and other factors that impede pandemic preparedness and response, such as lack of trust and corruption, are too pervasive to have an instrument only focused narrowly on discrete health threats.

The current support for an ambitious instrument may prove a short window of opportunity, and it must be fully utilized – to prepare for the next pandemic, but also to establish a comprehensive, right to health international agreement that emulates solidarity and supports universal health coverage and other 2030 Agenda health elements. If the instrument now under discussion remains narrow, states should commit to negotiating a right to health treaty as soon as a pandemic instrument is adopted.

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