At a time when Covid cases are somewhat stabilising around the world, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), issued a warning that the world must prepare for the next pandemic, which might be "even deadlier" than the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the annual meeting of the United Nations agency, the head of WHO praised countries' "historic" decision to accept a significant budget increase and urged them to implement the necessary reforms to prepare for the next pandemic.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that it was time to move forward with negotiations on preventing the next pandemic in a speech delivered at the assembly a few weeks after the Covid-19 pandemic was removed from the status of a global emergency.
In a major address to the WHO's member states, the director-general warned that the next pandemic would "come knocking" and stated, "We cannot kick this can down the road."
"If we do not make the changes that must be made, then who will? And if we do not make them now, then when?" he said.
The 10-day yearly World Health Assembly in Geneva, which coincides with the WHO's 75th anniversary, is set to address worldwide well-being challenges, including future pandemics, destroying polio, and supporting moves toward facilitating Ukraine's wellbeing crisis set off by Russia's attack.
The 194 countries that make up the WHO are currently working on a pandemic treaty that will be approved at the assembly the following year.
"A commitment from this generation (to a pandemic accord) is important because it is this generation that experienced how awful a small virus could be," said Tedros.
At a similar gathering, nations approved a $6.83 billion budget for 2024–25, a decision that tested national commitments to fixing a WHO funding model that was viewed as too little and excessively dependent on the fancies of contributors.