Do we need a pandemic treaty?

In this Global Health Unpacked seminar, pandemic expert Dr. Clare Wenham will discuss the proposed pandemic treaty and why it might not make the world better equipped to tackle future global health crises.

illustration pandemic treaty

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Is the pandemic treaty the right solution to the problems facing global health security? 

In the wake of the numerous governance failures during COVID-19, we need to develop appropriate global solutions to be able to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from future global health crises—and such mechanisms should be rooted in global equity. In this seminar, Clare Wenham will argue that the pandemic treaty, currently, is not the most appropriate way in which to achieve this.

Notions of global community, solidarity, and fairness are far removed from the reality that we have seen unfolding in the actions of states responding to the pandemic, and in their interactions at WTO, WHO and amid the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body looking to develop this treaty, or similar pandemic instruments.

This is the crux of the tension with the proposed treaty: The balance between the ideal cosmopolitan worldview held by those in power in global health, and the practice of national security decision-making witnessed in the last 18 months. Indeed, a pandemic treaty will deliver what is being extolled by its proponents, but it will not solve the multiple problems of cooperation in global health that supporters believe it will.

About Clare Wenham

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Dr. Clare Wenham is Associate Professor of Global Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is the Director of the MSc in Global Health Policy and sits on the steering committee of the LSE Global Health Initiative. Clare is an interdisciplinary health policy/international relations academic, with research that also contributes to public policy and public health through an empirical focus on global health security. Her research explores the preparation for and response to epidemics by state and non-state actors, the political challenges of this multi-stakeholder landscape and the effects of epidemic mitigation policies.

About this seminar

Global Health Unpacked” is a seminar series that aims to bring together the global health community on a regular basis to critically discuss key debates in Global Health in informal and interactive seminars. Guest speakers (both from the University of Oslo and from other universities) will bring an original perspective to the topic and engage in a conversation with the audience.

With this forum, we also hope to facilitate exchanges and collaborations between global health researchers and students present in Oslo and foster interdisciplinary research. “Global Health Unpacked” is jointly organized by the research group Global Health Politics, Centre for Development and the Environment and the UiO Centre for Global Health.

Published Sep. 6, 2022 1:04 PM - Last modified Sep. 27, 2022 4:05 PM