Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday announced chairs of a panel, which will assess the international response to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the World Health Assembly in May, member states adopted a resolution calling for the independent evaluation.
"I'm proud to announce that former Prime Minister [of New Zealand] Helen Clark and former President [of Liberia] Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and also a Nobel laureate have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the evaluation committee, which we are calling the Independent panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, IPPPR," Tedros told a mission briefing.
According to the WHO chief, the co-chairs have been selected through "a process of broad informal consultation with Member States and world experts." He proposed to develop the terms of reference for the panel in consultation with member states and enable the co-chairs to select other members of the panel, while encouraging member states to make their suggestions.
"I also propose that the panel will have an independent secretariat. As you know, in the past we used to have our internal independent evaluation department that would serve as secretariat in independent evaluations. But as I said, this is a very unique situation, and I propose to have an independent secretary as fully accountable to the two co-chairs and the panel," Tedros added.
The WHO chief proposed monthly mission briefings to update members states on on the progress and interim findings. He also outlined the timeline for other events where the panel's work would be addressed.
"I am proposing to call a special session of the Executive Board in September to discuss progress and to give guidance. And in November, we will resume the World Health Assembly, and the Independent panel will present an interim report. In January, the Executive Board will hold its regular session, where we will further discuss the panel’s work. In May of next year, at the World Health Assembly, the panel will present its substantive report on the health findings," Tedros said.
The WHO chief reiterated the need for honest self-reflection and "breaking from the past and building back better."
"We cannot go back to the way we did things before, my friends. Business as usual has failed us. This cannot be another blue-ribbon panel that issues a report that goes up on the bookshelf. We must come together in a global conversation, to take these hard-won lessons and turn them into action," Tedros stressed.
According to the statistics collected by the Johns Hopkins University, the cumulative coronavirus case count has reached 12 million, with 550,135 deaths.