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Pathogen Sharing and International Law: The Search for Equity Under the Pandemic Treaty

Date: 19 July 2023

Time: 17.30 - 19.30 (UK time)
Followed by a reception

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5JP and online

Sponsored by:


Event Details

World Health Organisation (WHO) Member States are currently negotiating a pandemic treaty, intended to address the global failures in outbreak prevention, preparedness and response witnessed during COVID-19. This multilateral treaty presents an invaluable opportunity to ensure that diagnostics, vaccines, medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be distributed fairly around the world in the event of a future pandemic. In this regard, the negotiating States broadly agree that achieving 'equity' must be a core objective of the pandemic treaty.

This event gathers a panel of leading international experts, including Professor Gian Luca Burci, former Legal Counsel of the World Health Organization, to discuss ways to ensure that equity is embedded into the new treaty, particularly in the form of legally binding obligations.

Key questions include the following:

1. What does equity mean in international law terms?
2. Why was equity so lacking during the COVID-19 public health emergency? What went wrong?
3. How is equity defined and operationalised in the latest draft of the pandemic treaty?
4. How just and fit for purpose is the current proposal to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines via an 'access and benefit-sharing' mechanism, whereby developing countries exchange access to their pathogen samples for benefits such as essential vaccines?
5. How else could/should equity be embedded into the treaty? What lessons can we learn from other areas of international law

Event convened by Anthony Wenton, Research Fellow in Public International Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL).

Join the conversation @BIICL #PathogenSharing #PandemicTreaty


Dr Stephanie Switzer, University of Strathclyde


  • Prof Gian Luca Burci, Geneva Graduate Institute
  • Prof Elisa Morgera, University of Strathclyde, One Ocean Hub
  • Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner, King's College London
  • Dr Michelle Rourke, Law Futures Centre, Griffith University


Professor John Harrington, Cardiff University

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CPD Information

This event offers the equivalent of 2 CPD hours.


If you have any queries, please contact the Events team

Event Recording

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