Strengthening global security through lessons from the pandemic


The InterAction Council held two High-Level Expert Meetings in March and April 2022 on “Risks and Solutions to Global Security: From the Pandemic to Future Health Threats.” These meetings brought together a wide range of senior leaders and experts committed to working together to find solutions for a safe end to the pandemic, as well as strengthening global security for our future. The overall aim of these meetings was to advance recommendations made by the Council members during a meeting on the pandemic in December 2021.

“The extreme threats posed by our planetary emergency and the pandemic, further exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, challenge us to re-think our multilateral global security architecture to ensure that it is fit for our future wellbeing,” said Bertie Ahern, former Prime Minister of Ireland and chair of the meetings.

High-level updates were provided on the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response report, and the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, with a summary of an Integrated Approach to Peace and Human Security in the 21st Century. Leaders commented on systemic failures combining with the wider impacts of the pandemic, and the complex interaction with other global security challenges. They reflected on potential solutions to strengthen international governance mechanisms for global goods for the right to health, including approaches to advance the concept of a Global Health Threats Council.

Aside from future health threats, the risk of continued pandemics emerging from new variants of COVID-19 was acknowledged. Experts shared experiences of successful pandemic responses, ranging from community based to global solutions and legislation to increase access to vaccines. The meeting reconvened in April to hear more about the potential solutions, including the need to finance and modernise public health systems and access to universal health coverage as an essential part of global health security. Further opportunities were presented on the potential role of digital transformation for enhancing global security, including the Platform for Planet Place and People (P4PPP).

Discussions recognized the significance of enhancing financing and governance systems to reinforce the existing UN infrastructure including the WHO. Furthermore, it was recognized that the design of global security mechanisms needs to incorporate health threats in order to coordinate rapid responses for emerging risks and to prevent further pandemics.

Learning from this pandemic has the potential to be applied to enhance our existing global security infrastructure to address our increasingly complex and interconnected challenges. Approaches were explored to advance the Council’s earlier recommendations, including the proposal of a taskforce with a particular focus on Global Governance for Global Health Security.

This initiative builds upon the Dublin Charter for One Health and has been informed by the report: Ending the Pandemic – Enhancing Global Security for People and Planet, A Framework for the Future.

We welcome further engagement with partners to advance this initiative going forward. Please contact our advisor, Dr Joanna Nurse: drjonurse[at]