The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has called for an international treaty on pandemics. In a tweet posted on the 3rd December 2020, he said that “It would help the international community better anticipate, prepare for & manage future pandemics.”

Mr Michel made the call at a virtual summit of UNGASS – the United Nations General Assembly Special Session. During the summit, Mr Michel said that having a treaty would help global coordination on research, information-sharing, and fair (equitable) access to health care.

Mr Michel claimed that the world had not been well-prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. He said that a treaty would be written within the framework of the WHO (World Health Organisation). Mr Michel, a former prime minister of Belgium, said:

“Our aim must be to guarantee access to vaccines, treatment and tests for future pandemics. This should be laid down in a treaty.”

One of the strategies that Mr Michel outlined was the closer monitoring of infectious diseases in animals. He said this was one of the most common pathways for pandemics to affect humans.

Such a treaty may, however, face practical problems. For example, in the United States, any treaty would need to be ratified by a vote of at least two-thirds in the Senate.

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