Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed by WHO to co-chair Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to co-chair a new Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR).

Alongside her co-chair, former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, Madam Sirleaf will lead the panel’s efforts to identify lessons from the global response to COVID-19 and opportunities to strengthen collaboration in the face of future pandemics.

During an address to WHO member states, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the appointment and highlighted the importance of the panel and its work:

“This is a time for self-reflection, to look at the world we live in and to find ways to strengthen our collaboration as we work together to save lives and bring this pandemic under control…

I am proud to announce that former Prime Minister Helen Clark and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the evaluation committee…

Prime Minister Clark and President Sirleaf were selected through a process of broad consultation with Member States and world experts. I cannot imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process, to help us understand what happened – an honest assessment – and to help us understand also what we should do to prevent such a tragedy in the future. So collectively, as a world to say “never again” to such kind of tragedy.”

The announcement of the panel followed the adoption of a landmark resolution by WHO member states during the 73rd World Health Assembly in May, which called on the organization to initiate an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the lessons learned from the international health response to COVID-19.

Dr Tedros proposed that a Special Session of the WHO Executive Board be called in September to discuss the panel’s progress, followed by an interim report at the resumption of the World Health Assembly in November.

Read the full announcement here.

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