“To reverse deforestation of tropical rainforests – one of the critical elements to preventing future pandemics – we trust rainforest people’s expertise and wisdom. And from Brazil to Madagascar and Indonesia, they’ve quite naturally designed a new genre of intervention that consistently links their health care access and household economy to jobs development and the integrity of their rainforests. Tropical rainforest communities hold the key to preventing the next pandemic. We must listen to them.”Jonathan Jennings, Executive Director, Health In Harmony
On May 24, nearly 200 governments will gather virtually for the 74th World Health Assembly and will take key decisions about the future of the World Health Organization. The theme of this year’s meeting is, “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world.”
We have reviewed the World Health Assembly agenda, draft resolutions, and other important inputs such as the recent report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Our coalition is deeply concerned that these documents and recommendations do not address the actual cause of all pandemics over the last century—human-driven spillover of viruses from animals, particularly wildlife, into people—and thereby fails to address the need for true prevention.
We are not undervaluing the importance of health system preparedness. Instead, we are simply making the case that it is only part of the solution.
We urge the WHA Delegates from all governments to address pandemic prevention at the root and incorporate spillover prevention into the scope of fully comprehensive pandemic prevention efforts.