Most member states of the United Nations have policies regarding the prevention of viral outbreaks; however the issue concern pandemics, the prevention of which requires significant international co-operation. One of the main goals of any resolution on this topic should be to build consensus between states to enable the sharing both of resources and information. Petty divides must be discarded in order to combat this threat effectively, and an alarming number of nations display an extremely short-sighted position. One’s initial reaction may be to protect one’s own, but the fate of one’s neighbours is likely to be shared in the long-term: viruses have little respect for borders.
There is, however, a need to make the most of each country’s respective strengths; each country independently performing research into virus behaviour is very inefficient, for example. Such NGOs as do exist are certainly a global asset, but it may be felt that a reform of database procedure is necessary.
However well coordinated the effort to prevent viral outbreaks, it is a matter of general record that sooner or later one will occur. When this happens, a method of minimising deaths (as well as other factors such as economics damage) is essential. A key point to consider is that of early warning – is the current system centred around the World Heath Organisation adequate? The severity and immediacy of threat must be carefully assessed before a reaction can be mustered.
In the wake of recent pandemic threats, the inability of producers to meet the sudden demand for vaccines etc has been criticised, so this is another important consideration. The sheer bureaucracy inherent in what must necessarily be an undertaking on an international scale is also an obstacle to dealing with pandemics effectively.
It is easy to focus on the pandemics much over-hyped in the media which periodically appear to threaten developed countries, and forget those which constantly cause deaths amongst less well publicised areas of the globe. New threats are newsworthy; however (without wishing to deviate onto another debate entirely) it would be remiss of any delegate writing a resolution on this topic not to include clauses dealing with the great pandemics of our time, for example the AIDS crisis amongst many African nations.