UNITE has held a regional meeting on the 4th and 5th of April, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to discuss a possible new global health architecture that allows the world to be better prepared for future outbreaks like COVID-19 alongside several discussions on the potential of the digital in the healthcare field.
See the declaration of the event here.
One of the main objectives of the event, according to UNITE, was “to allow parliamentarians from different countries to share experiences among themselves and other organizations”. According to Gisela Scaglia, regional president of UNITE for Latin America and the Caribbean, “it was a great opportunity to advance in Latin America in the consolidation of networks and instances of cooperation and collaboration to face the challenges we have in our parliaments and governments in order to have regulations and instances of preparation for future pandemics.” According to Gisela, a former parliamentarian “access to health is one of the central axes of this debate. Our challenge is to support parliamentarians in the legislative debate and work together to eradicate infectious diseases, prevent and open the discussion to possible new international regulations”
The network of parliamentarians has placed pandemic preparedness as a priority for this year’s agenda. For that reason, according to UNITE in a declaration to the press, this meeting was a “moment to discuss UNITE’s strategy and work plan in the region for 2022”, as well as to “provide parliamentarians tools to advocate for effective pandemic preparedness and universal health coverage”.
This meeting happens at a time when a discussion of a possible “pandemic treaty” is taking place worldwide. According to Gisela Scaglia, “the new international legal instrument must include a human rights approach, as well as civil society perspectives on how to assure that no one’s rights are left behind if a new pandemic happens”.
One of the major outcomes of the event was the signature of a declaration where the parliamentarians stated that they “believe that parliamentarians can play a key role in driving these changes by promoting greater resources, monitoring and proposing of these changes by advocating for increased resources, monitoring and proposing changes in the policy environment, and holding governments accountable”.
The event had the participation of twelve parliamentarians from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Honduras, México, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Portugal, home of the headquarters of UNITE. Alongside the parliamentarians, Alongside with the parliamentarians, the event had the presence of representatives of organizations such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).