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Facts and Findings

 Have we learnt anything from the Corona Pandemic?

The Monkeypox as the next Stress Test for more Global Distributive Justice

The Monkeypox outbreak highlights renewed deficiencies in the global response to health crises: Once again, available vaccines and medicines have not reached where they were most needed. Instead, stockpiling tendencies by the few rich countries have once again become apparent. For more distributive justice, on the other hand, it would make sense to strive for a continuation of the COVAX vaccine initiative beyond autumn 2022.

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In response to the spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC) on 23 July 2022. According to the WHO statues, a PHEIC is a "sudden, unusual and unexpected" health problem that can spread to other countries. However, declaring a PHEIC is not the same as declaring a pandemic. Legally, therefore, there is no pandemic declaration at the global level (yet).

Even though a PHEIC declaration puts governments under some obligation and responsibility to coordinate their efforts to contain the spread of the virus, existing instruments such as the International Health Regulations (IHR) of 2005 are insufficient for the early containment of an international health emergency. The deficiencies in international crisis response became overly clear in the light of the Corona pandemic and are repeated in the access and availability of smallpox vaccines and other monkeypox medicines. Hence contrary to the efforts of distributive justice and global solidarity.

However, an underestimated instrument has emerged from the Corona pandemic in the form of the global COVAX initiative, which strives for a fair distribution mechanism of vaccines and appeals to the moral responsibility of countries. After all, it was only through COVAX, as the vaccination platform of the global coordination mechanism "Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator" (ACT-A), that some countries had the chance to receive vaccines in the first place.

The lessons learned from the Corona Pandemic and the creation of ACT-A as an initiative to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines must therefore not be interpreted specifically for Corona, but can be understood as a blueprint for global crisis response to a health emergency of international concern. Read the entire analysis "Have we learnt anything from the Corona Pandemic?  - The Monkeypox as the next Stress Test for more Global Distributive Justice" here as a PDF and find out to what extent there are points of connection to the current negotiations of a pandemic treaty, a revision of the International Health Regulations or a pandemic preparedness fund at the World Bank. 

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Moritz Fink

Mortz Fink

Policy Officer

+65 6603 6169


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