(Lisbon) October 22nd: Today, parliamentarians from South America and the Caribbean participated in a roundtable to discuss how to prepare the world for the next pandemic and what are the necessary mechanisms for an efficient regional collaboration in order to build more solid and resilient health systems. The event was organized by UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). 

In a very committed way, parliamentarians presented the state of public investment in R&D for pandemic preparedness in their countries, the willingness of the governments to invest in this area and the main debates that are currently being held at the parliaments regarding the matter.  Members of Parliament also discussed the main mechanisms for pandemic preparedness implemented by national governments, as well as good practices observed in their countries. With a broad representation across the region, the event counted with the participation of parliamentarians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. 

The event was moderated by Dr Juan de Dios Cincunegui, professor of parliamentary diplomacy in Argentina, and counted with opening remarks from Dr Nísia Lima, President of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in Brazil. According to Dr Nísia Lima, “we must now use our personal, political, and scientific pandemic experiences as an opportunity to better prepare for the future as we know the next pandemic isn’t a case of IF but WHEN”. 

The session counted with two distinguished speakers, Dr Ricardo Baptista Leite, President and Founder of UNITE and Member of the Panel GPHC, and Dr Samia Saad, Director of Resource Mobilisation & Investor Relations of CEPI. Dr Ricardo Baptista Leite highlighted the importance of multilateralism in preparing the world for the next pandemic and how CEPI’s work is fundamental in this area. According to Ricardo Baptista Leite, “as a globally recognised organising force for R&D collaboration and innovation, CEPI is uniquely placed to coordinate this international approach” and “the success of CEPI’s plan depends on the compromise of parliamentarians of South and Central America and the Caribbean, who represent the citizen’s voices and hold governments accountable.” 

Dr Samia Saad presented CEPI’s mission and the replenishment to come, highlighting the importance of investing in R&D for pandemic preparedness. Samia Saad elucidated the audience about CEPI’s work in the region and already existing partnerships, calling attention for what parliamentarians can do to define a great investment in R&D in their countries. 

Finally, Honorable Gisela Scaglia, Member of the Parliament of Argentina and Chair of the UNITE’s Latin America Chapter, presented the next steps that will follow the meeting, including a set of tools that will be sent to participants, in order to support their work in advocating for more investment for pandemic preparedness. 

The discussion provided the parliamentarians and participants with valuable information about the current situation regarding pandemic preparedness in Latin America, as well as tools to support the advocacy for a greater investment in R&D in the region. As an outcome of the event, UNITE and CEPI have the goal of continuing to work together to raise awareness about the importance of multilateralism to prevent future pandemics. 

Read here in Portuguese.

Read here in Spanish.


More information about the event organizers: 

UNITE is a global network of parliamentarians committed to driving political change and impact to end infectious diseases as a global health threat until 2030. UNITE has 160 members in more than 70 countries worldwide and divides its activities in ten regions, called chapters, led by its Co-Chairs and Executive Board.   

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) launched at Davos in 2017, is an innovative global partnership, working to stimulate and accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks.  


Lucas Chambel, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Communications, UNITE –

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