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A high-level peer-review process for future pandemic preparedness:

practical lessons from the Universal Periodic Review

This paper aims to draw lessons from the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to inform a proposed peer-review mechanism anchored in the World Health Organization (WHO) focusing on emergency preparedness and recovery. As a high-level voluntary review, such a mechanism would add value through a global process of accountability and solidarity and ensure that health emergency preparedness is acted upon at the highest political level to strengthen health system resilience.

One of the recommendations mutually identified by leading high-level COVID-19 response review committees, including the Independent Panel (IPPPR), is the proposal of a peer-review system whereby countries review and publish their health preparedness capacities. When discussing the potential of such an instrument, it is worth looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the 15-year-old Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a peer review process in the area of human rights. While bearing in mind that not all lessons are transferable from one policy field to another, the comparison may provide some valuable insights for the development of a similar mechanism anchored in the WHO to strengthen pandemic preparedness. The Multilateral Dialogue of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in Geneva has therefore invited UPR info, a Geneva-based non-profit, non-governmental organization with unique expertise and insights into the UPR process to identify key lessons and considerations for the drafting of a Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR), based on 15 years of their expert knowledge of the similar peer-review process.

Read the full report in the pdf document.


This report was written by UPR Info:

UPR Info is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva that fosters a conducive environment for civil society and States to advance the realisation of human rights and progress on inclusive development that leaves no one behind within the Universal Periodic Review.

To learn more about their work, visit their website.


Dr. Olaf Wientzek

Olaf Wientzek bild

Leiter des Multilateralen Dialogs Genf

olaf.wientzek@kas.de +41 22 748 70 70

Rosa Ann Seidler

Rosa Ann Seidler

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

rosa.seidler@kas.de +41 22 748 70 74