Good morning. In its integrated review of security, defence and foreign policy (pdf) published earlier this month, the government said it wanted to “move from defending the status quo within the post-cold war international system to dynamically shaping the post-Covid order”. It was not clear exactly what that meant, but we get a better idea this morning with the publication of a joint article signed by Boris Johnson, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and 21 other world leaders, as well as Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, calling for a global treaty on on pandemic preparedness.
Here is my colleague Lucy Campbell’s overnight story about the initiative.
Here is the original article, published in the UK in the Daily Telegraph, and in other newspapers around the world. And here is an extract. One point that’s notable is that the leaders say the next pandemic is a matter of “not if, but when”.
There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe ….
To that end, we believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response. Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level. It would be rooted in the constitution of the World Health Organization, drawing in other relevant organisations key to this endeavour, in support of the principle of health for all.
Quite how likely this is to happen is not clear. Two prominent names are missing from the article, and they represent the two most powerful countries in the world: Joe Biden, the US president, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.
Parliament is in recess, and so the political diary is lighter than usual today. Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales, as well as its latest antibody survey.
1pm: The Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland announces whether anyone will be prosecuted for Covid law breaches at the funeral of the former IRA figure Bobby Storey, which was attended by many Sinn Féin figures including the deputy first minister, Michelle O’Neill.
Also today Sir Keir Starmer is campaigning in Hartlepool before the byelection there.
Politics Live has been mostly about Covid for the last year and I will be covering UK coronavirus developments today, as well as non-coronavirus Westminster politics. For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog.
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