Independent assessment of member state compliance with the pandemic agreement
Updated: Nov 23
The October negotiating text of the proposed Pandemic Agreement marks a significant milestone in the collective effort to improve pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR). As we approach the World Health Assembly in May 2024, where the final outcome will be presented, we find ourselves at a critical juncture for the agreement’s success.
While the draft text takes positive steps toward improving global health security, a notable gap must be addressed: the absence of a robust independent accountability mechanism. Experience from existing treaties has demonstrated that relying solely on state self-reporting and peer reviews is insufficient for ensuring compliance. The agreement must incorporate a dedicated committee to monitor independently state commitments.
Drawing lessons from other international treaties, we know that creating such a committee is not just feasible but essential. It should have a clear mandate and the authority to validate states' reporting timeliness, completeness, and accuracy. Additionally, ensuring its financial and technical independence is paramount to protect it from undue influence and to empower it to seek diverse sources of information, including on-site visits and inputs from civil society and non-governmental organizations.
In creating such an independent monitoring mechanism, Member States have the opportunity to set a new standard for global health governance that is not just aspirational but anchored in accountability and transparency. The political will must now rise to meet this critical need. As we look forward to next year's assembly, let's champion the call for an independent monitoring committee as an accountability pillar for the agreement. The question is not whether we can achieve this—it’s whether we choose to.
Read our new The Lancet Global Health comment with co-authors Susanna Lehtimaki, Elliot Hannon, Layth Hanbali, Daniela-Filipa Soltan, Kimberley Peek and Tiffany Nassiri-Ansari from Spark Street Advisors, the United Nations University - IIGH and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.