What went wrong in the global governance of covid-19?

Feb 22, 2021

The mandate of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is to “provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.” These lessons are starting to emerge with the publication of the panel’s second progress report. The report touches several key problems in the global governance of covid-19: WHO’s position, structure, and lack of financing; excessive focus on metrics to the detriment of political analysis; a lack of coordinated and sufficient financing for pandemic preparedness and response; global vaccine inequities; and the role of the broader global health architecture.

The report points to the extent to which politics has driven the trajectory of the pandemic in different locations—establishing that the policies chosen by governments reflect deeper political agendas and that the tension between the economy and public heath is a false dichotomy. Those governments willing to take the political and economic hit of harsh restrictions early in 2020 are now benefiting from freedom from population restrictions, and in the case of South Korea and China, flourishing economies. The BMJ


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