The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the efforts of the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO), and of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), to negotiate a pandemic accord aimed at dealing more effectively with future pandemics. This policy brief offers recommendations that the ICRC would strongly encourage to incorporate into the pandemic accord to realize its objectives – of saving lives, addressing systemic gaps and challenges in preventing, preparing for, and responding to pandemics – especially in situations of armed conflict.
These recommendations are informed not only by the ICRC’s operational experience of 160 years, and by its legal mandate under international humanitarian law (IHL), but also by the understanding that pathogens do not discriminate along geographic or socio-economic lines, and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. However, most of the resources for preventing, preparing for and responding to pandemics (PPPR) remain confined within national borders, typically those of higher-income countries. A paradigm shift that brings people affected by armed conflict and other humanitarian crises from the periphery to join others at the centre of global public health is required.