UNDRR, IPU and WHO Webinar - Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic: parliamentary action to reduce risks, increase resilience and strengthen emergency preparedness and increase resilience
The spread of COVID-19 worldwide reveals the challenges of managing health risks and effects of emergencies. All countries, regardless of income or level of development, face systemic risks, such as disease outbreaks, with the potential for very significant health and socio-economic impacts. Beyond the current COVID-19 outbreak, the risk of future health emergencies remains high.
A range of international instruments and frameworks exist in response to these threats. In particular, the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) establish rights and obligations for State Parties and for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bangkok Principles for the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 , including legislative and administrative arrangements in areas of emergency preparedness and response, and the development of minimum public health capacities for surveillance, assessment, response and reporting of health threats. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 , which provides concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster, also includes a focus on resilient health systems.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need to scale up emergency preparedness efforts at the country level across all sectors. Parliaments play a key role in implementing existing instruments and mitigating risks through enacting necessary legislative reforms, ensuring core public health capacities and research institutes are adequately funded, and building accountability through oversight of government preparedness and response policies and programmes. Parliaments also have a critical role in ensuring a multisectoral approach to health emergency preparedness.
Building on the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will collaborate with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in organizing a webinar for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on the role of parliaments in health security, emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction. It will be part of the UNDRR-WHO webinar series on COVID-19.
The webinar is part of the series initiated by UNDRR Incheon office with WHO, and supported by UNDRR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. It will build on ongoing collaboration of WHO and the IPU. As part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 and related joint workplan, the IPU and WHO are working together to reinforce the role of parliaments in strengthening global health security. As part of these efforts, a handbook to enhance the knowledge in parliaments on global health security and the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) will be jointly produced. The IPU also regularly works together with UNDRR to increase parliamentary action to meet national disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation needs. A current example of this collaboration is the joint development of an advocacy toolkit on DRR.
Content and objectives
The webinar aims to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an example to discuss how parliaments can enhance their role on prevention and in emergency preparedness through a whole-of-society approach, and contribute in mitigating health risks, reduce vulnerabilities of communities, and protect populations from future emergencies. The webinar will focus on COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response to provide parliamentarians and parliamentary staff with an overview of the current status of the pandemic and its cascading consequences for a country, including the impacts beyond the health sector. The webinar will also draw lessons learnt and best practices from this emergency to reflect on how to ensure enhanced preventive measures and preparedness for effective response to future pandemics.
Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from all regions (by invitation only).
For more information: Ana Cristina Thorlund, UNDRR Office for Northeast Asia (ONEA) and Global Education and Training Institute (GETI) at firstname.lastname@example.org