Vienna, 7 February 2023 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its latest draft of the “Pandemic Treaty”, which aims to be the first international legally binding agreement designed to protect the world from future pandemics in light of COVID-19.
The document was published and sent out to the 194 Member States of the WHO ahead of the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) taking place later this month.
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, said that it “lacked teeth” and much more is needed to be done in future drafts in regard to tackling the root causes especially on animal welfare issues, which were the driver of COVID-19. With leading scientists concluding that it was simply not plausible that COVID-19 was introduced to the Wuhan market in any way other than through the wild animal trade.
"As it stands the current zero draft will not protect us from the next pandemic. It lacks teeth to ensure that we all take the right steps to prevent a potential global outbreak from happening to begin with. What we are seeing with the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is that time is not on our side, the Pandemic Treaty must be bold and rigorous when it comes to setting effective preventive measures, compliance and implementation."
Nina Jamal, FOUR PAWS´ Head of Pandemics
“FOUR PAWS believes the zero draft does not go far enough on equity or on preventing pathogens from jumping from animals to humans. Governments championing equity must ask for more than just vaccines and technology. If they are serious about equity, they must develop One Health strategies and ask for support in protecting their vulnerable communities by enabling them to prevent outbreaks, not just respond to them. There is no equity for the most vulnerable communities at the Human-Animal-Environment interface after an outbreak because they would have already suffered.
“But there is a foundation to build upon, especially on the inclusion of tackling both the legal and illegal wildlife trade as a driver of disease emergence, which would be an effective measure to prevent the spread at an early onset. And One Health should be treated as a pillar of the agreement, instead of limiting it to a single article, because it offers a holistic and transformative pathway to averting the spread of dangerous diseases if fully integrated into the instrument.”
“Zero draft” WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response: https://apps.who.int/gb/inb/pdf_files/inb4/A_INB4_3-en.pdf
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org