The Biden administration on Tuesday appointed former Ambassador to the United Nations Pamela Hamamoto to lead U.S. negotiations for the proposed global pandemic accord at the World Health Organization (WHO).
The announcement highlights how seriously the Biden administration is taking the negotiations over the accord to prevent and respond to future pandemics, which WHO member countries agreed to last December.
Hamamoto previously served as a U.S. Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva from 2014 to 2017.
In a joint statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamamoto will “assume management and oversight of U.S. engagement” in the negotiations.
They said the negotiations must produce an agreement that “effectively strengthens global health collaboration, improves systems for monitoring disease or pandemic outbreaks, bolsters national health security capacities, and enhances equity in pandemic preparedness and responses.”
The goal of the pandemic accord is to address some of the biggest failures of the global coronavirus response. While the WHO and other member countries want a legally binding agreement, the U.S. has not been as open to the idea.
Any official treaty would need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.