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Press Release No. 30 | 4 July 2023
DFG Opposes Regulation of Research in Planned WHO Pandemic Agreement

Current statement underlines importance of pandemic preparedness, but urges exclusion of knowledge-driven research from scope of application

In a statement on a pandemic agreement planned by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has emphasised the importance of free knowledge-driven research.

In a recently issued statement, the DFG's Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research generally supports the WHO’s efforts to strengthen preparedness for future pandemics in a global perspective. In the Commission’s view, the current draft of a “WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response” formulates key fundamental principles in this regard.

At the same time, however, the Commission sees regulations set down in the planned agreement as potentially creating significant obstacles and legal uncertainties for basic research. In the Commission’s view, these run counter to the objective of ensuring better preparedness and response to the global challenge of a pandemic. The important objective of global health equity cannot be achieved by regulating research and development, emphasise the experts on the DFG Commission, who represent the full range of scientific disciplines.

For this reason, the Commission strongly advocates the exclusion of knowledge-driven research from the scope of the agreement. The Commission firmly believes that this is the only way to establish the necessary foundation of knowledge so as to be able to prepare for as yet unknown future crises.

By issuing this statement, the DFG’s Pandemic Commission seeks to offer the perspective of science and the humanities to the upcoming further political negotiation process relating to the WHO agreement and regards this as part of its efforts to contribute to pandemic preparedness from a scientific perspective.

Further information

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For the full text of the statement, see:

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