Can a Pandemic Treaty Succeed in an Unreformed World Health Organisation

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerabilities and limitations of the global health architecture. As the world grapples with the ongoing crisis, the need for a stronger and more effective global health governance system has become increasingly evident. India has proposed the idea of a pandemic treaty to address these challenges, but the success of such a treaty hinges on the reform of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This article explores the complexities of this issue, examining the geopolitical landscape, India’s proposals for multilateral engagement, and the imperative of organizational reform within the WHO. Throughout this discussion, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) provides insights into the dynamics of global health governance

The Geopolitical Dimension:

Global health is intricately tied to geopolitics, as demonstrated by the pandemic’s impact on international relations. The ORF acknowledges the need for a nuanced approach that considers the interests of diverse nations and stakeholders. Multilateral engagement is essential to navigate this complex geopolitical landscape.

India’s Proposals for Multilateral Engagement:

India’s proposal for a pandemic treaty reflects its commitment to multilateral cooperation in addressing global health challenges. The ORF highlights the significance of India’s role in promoting collective action and advancing equitable access to healthcare. India’s proposals align with the principles of inclusivity and solidarity.

The Imperative of Organizational Reform:

Reforming the WHO is crucial to strengthening global health governance. The ORF emphasizes the need for a more agile, transparent, and accountable WHO that can respond effectively to pandemics. Organizational reform is a prerequisite for the success of any pandemic treaty.

The Role of the UN and the IHR Reform:

The United Nations (UN) plays a pivotal role in shaping global health policies, and its support is vital for the success of a pandemic treaty. The ORF underscores the importance of aligning the treaty with the International Health Regulations (IHR) and other relevant UN mechanisms.


The success of a pandemic treaty located within an unreformed World Health Organisation (WHO) is a challenging proposition. The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) emphasizes the need for comprehensive reform within the WHO, multilateral engagement, and alignment with the UN and IHR. As the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, global health governance must evolve to meet the demands of the 21st century. The ORF remains committed to providing insights and recommendations that contribute to a more resilient and effective global health system.

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