February 23, 2022
The Chamber joined a letter from the global business community to the World Health Organization Member States on the launch of negotiations on a new international health instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. See full letter text below.
Dear World Health Organization Member States:
The global business community applauds the WHO and world leaders' current efforts to create an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to prevent, prepare, and respond to future pandemics. Global leaders must take deliberate steps now to end the current COVID-19 pandemic as a top priority, while capturing lessons learned to ensure that the world is ready to fight back against future pandemics. As we have witnessed with COVID-19, only a whole-of-society approach that includes the private sector and civil society will ensure our success. The current pandemic represents a paradigm shift in the way governments, business, and civil society forge deep bonds to respond to emergency situations and to develop sustainable health policies. This task is not something governments can achieve on their own. Therefore, we urge the WHO to make a fulsome commitment to engage the business community and to establish decision-making processes that allow the public and private sectors to coordinate at every stage of the negotiations.
The private sector remains the dominant force in pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) when it comes to the innovation, manufacturing, delivery and administration of healthcare and public health products and services. The private sector has also increasingly partnered with governments and multilateral organizations on policies that support sustainable and equitable access to these products and services around the globe.
In particular, we seek to highlight how firms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have mobilized enormous resources to quickly accelerate the research, development and manufacturing of protective equipment, advanced diagnostics, disinfection products, medical devices, digital health tools, targeted treatments, and vaccines. Businesses made peer-reviewed research and epidemiological data widely available and provided informational, educational, and other creative content for people and their families in times of heightened need. They also maintained and enhanced the communication technologies that enable billions of people to stay connected and productive in their professional and personal lives.
We are employers, innovators, manufacturers, supply chain experts, and drivers of economic opportunity and growth. We have proven to be an essential contributor in coping better with the pandemic and remain fully committed to providing our valuable and needed products, services, and employment opportunities to global citizens. It is imperative that the business community participates in the process to inform the INB to strengthen pandemic PPR.
We thank the WHO for the opportunity to provide these recommendations and to voice our support for a new instrument to fight current and future global health threats. To prevent, prepare, and respond to future pandemics appropriately, global leaders must maintain robust and sustained engagement with the business community. We look forward to continued dialogue on how private industry can assist global leaders with these endeavors.