ACT Alliance joins religious leaders in call for global health equity as nations gather to finalize Pandemic Agreement


ACT Alliance is one of over 100 religious leaders and faith-based organizations globally calling on leaders of the World Health Organization to secure equity commitments to protect all populations everywhere from future pandemics. The letter was delivered on the opening day of the intended final nine-day negotiating session in Geneva for the Pandemic Accord, a new international agreement of UN member states to bolster pandemic prevention, preparedness and response efforts.

“The sanctity of human life often seemed forgotten in the pandemic, with the lives of people in wealthy nations appearing to be valued over those in low- or middle-income countries,” states the letter. “As you enter the final stage of negotiations, we implore you to deliver an agreement that ensures every life is valued equally.”

Millions of people lost their lives during the COVID-19 emergency due to late and inequitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines. The letter urges negotiators to reach an agreement that ensures that everyone, everywhere can benefit from scientific advancement and that the tools needed to fight the next pandemic are shared equally, including necessary knowledge and technology.

It also urges negotiators to ensure that intellectual property barriers are removed when necessary, and that people in the Global South are “treated not as mere samples for pandemic monitoring, but as equal partners in a collective endeavour towards a healthier world.” Over the course of the pandemic, despite the sharing of genetic information that enabled production of effective vaccines, these products were not accessible to many. The proposed pathogen access and benefit sharing (PABS) mechanism in the agreement aims to remedy this by ensuring that sharing of pathogen data also enables equitable access to resulting medical tools.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of ACT Alliance said, “We stand at a critical moment where the conscience of humanity must guide our actions. The inequities uncovered by the pandemic demand a response rooted in compassion and justice. As nations convene to shape the future of global health, let us not forget that every life is precious and deserving of equal protection. The Pandemic Accord must be a testament to our commitment to valuing every individual, regardless of their geography or socioeconomic status. We urge negotiators to seize this opportunity to ensure that the lessons learned from COVID-19 pave the way for a world where health equity is not just an aspiration, but a reality for all.”

Letter signatory Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said, “As the world prepares for future pandemics, it is essential that it plans to give equal protection to all people, everywhere, not only for moral reasons but to protect one another. COVID-19 showed us that none of us are safe until all of us are safe, and that only a comprehensive response that covers the world can bring pandemics under control.”

The letter was organized by Public Citizen, in collaboration with the ACT Alliance, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The final text of the Accord is slated for presentation to the World Health Assembly in May.


ACT Alliance concerned about the negative effects of cuts in development assistance to Global Health [Press release WHA75]

The World Health Organisation opened the 75th World Health Assembly yesterday on Sunday, the 22nd of May, 2022.  

Tomorrow, the Assembly will discuss WHO’s work in health emergencies and the plans to improve pandemic preparedness.

Four regions are currently experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases, and the number of deaths is on the rise in Africa. The pandemic is not over, while the attention and the funding seem to be fading. 

Governments in Europe are cutting their aid budgets including funding for global health. While the WHO is calling for adequate resources from States to meet its crucial mandate, some traditionally key donors are channelling less than expected funding into its structure, and other global health initiatives.

The update submitted to the assembly from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness is worrying. They argue that progress is slow and, in their words, at the present pace “the world is laying the groundwork for failure and the risk of a new pandemic with the same devastating consequences”.

“If confirmed, these budget cuts are worrisome especially at a time when we should redouble our efforts to prevent future pandemics, not reduce them. The humanitarian impact of outbreaks like the COVID-19 has a negative effect not only on community and global health but also on justice and human rights. I trust that governments will reconsider these myopic cuts and work collectively to strengthen and support WHO’s work”, says the General Secretary of the ACT Alliance Rudelmar Bueno de Faria.

“Now is the time to build WHO stronger, not to weaken this important tool for pandemic preparedness”, says Dagfinn Høybråten, General Secretary of Norwegian Church Aid, a member organisation of the ACT Alliance.

“We are concerned of the overall cuts to development aid, including cuts to important global health work such as the Global Fund as seen in Sweden. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world was not on track to reach the SDG 3 on health and wellbeing. A strong and ongoing investment in global health is crucial to build back better from the pandemic.” says Erik Lysen, moderator of the ACT Alliance and Director of Act Church of Sweden.

For media enquiries please contact: 

Daniela Varano, ACT Alliance, or

Dr Marianna Leite, Global Advocacy and Development Policy Manager, ACT Alliance,

ACT Alliance is a global network of religious organisations and churches operating in more than 145 countries worldwide working on humanitarian relief, migration and displacement, climate and gender justice.