According to a report on preparations for an international epidemic, the fact that political leaders have not heeded the warnings and prepared for a pandemic of infectious diseases has put the «world at risk» and in disarray.
«Financial and political investments in preparedness have been insufficient and we are all paying the price,» says the Report of the Global Preparedness Oversight Commission (GPMB).
«It’s not like the world lacked the opportunity to take these steps,» he adds. «There have been numerous calls to take action (…) but none of them have generated the necessary changes.»
The GPMB, convened by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), is chaired by former WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The 2019 commission report, published a few months before the new coronavirus emerged in China, had mentioned that there was a real threat of «a fast-spreading pandemic due to a lethal respiratory pathogen» and warned that such an event could kill millions of people and wreak havoc on the world economy.
This year’s report, titled «A World in Disorder,» says world leaders have never been so clearly warned of the dangers of a devastating pandemic, yet they had not taken adequate action.
«Tragically and catastrophically, we’ve seen our worst fears come true,» Brundtland said at a media briefing. «The impact of COVID-19 is even worse than we anticipated.»
The report noted that, although heads of government were asked a year ago to commit and invest in pandemic preparedness, health systems were strengthened, and financial risk planning to take the threat of a devastating event seriously, little progress had been made in either respect.
The text adds that lack of leadership is exacerbating the pandemic. «If coVID-19 lessons are not learned or not acted upon, with the necessary resources and commitment, the next pandemic, which is likely to happen, will be even more damaging,» he said.