BlogEquity in Global Health Law – after COVID, what next?

Equity has been sorely lacking in pandemic preparedness and response, and COVID-19 is but the latest example.

The inequity witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of selective border closures, nationalism, inequity in access to diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and personal protective equipment (PPE), prompted Member States of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to commence negotiations on a new international legal instrument - the Pandemic Treaty - intended to prevent pandemics and mitigate associated inequalities such as vaccine access, and improve compliance with international law during pandemic events.

Four years on since the pandemic broke across the world, Dr Stephanie Switzer and Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner of King’s College London speak on a podcast available via Spotify (and all good podcast providers) to John Edward of the Scottish Council for Global Affairs, looking at the prospects for this proposed Pandemic Treaty. The World Health Assembly of the WHO is due to finalise these Treaty negotiations, being conducted under the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body, in May/June 2024.

In this podcast, Stephanie and Mark discuss what this intergovernmental response tells us about preparedness and the search for equity ahead of whatever pandemic may come next. An SCGA Insight paper is also available as an accompaniment to this podcast.

The discussion builds upon research undertaken by Mark and Stephanie with, among others, Abbie Rose-Hampton and Michelle Rourke and funded by the Scottish Council for Global Affairs, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the ESRC IAA Impact fund.