A joint declaration on the importance of collaboration, open trade, and innovation in tackling COVID-19

Aerial view Top speed with beautiful wave of container ship full load container with crane loading container for logistics import export or transportation concept background. Geneva Network

May 2020

Keep trade free and support innovation to beat COVID-19, says international think tank coalition

As member states of the World Health Organization meet today for the World Health Assembly, we, a global coalition of 31 think tanks call on governments to commit to open trade, collaboration and innovation in the fight against Covid-19.

The united declaration calls for a range of measures to safeguard supplies of essential medical goods and support innovation for future Covid-19 treatments and cures.

We are concerned that many countries are looking to the failed protectionism of the past to address the crisis. Barriers are being erected that are deepening shortages of medical supplies, undermining innovation and hampering efforts to beat the disease.

Now is not the time for countries to look inwards. The crisis will only be resolved, and economies will only recover, if countries are allowed to trade and collaborate freely with each other.

Fortunately, there are many simple measures that governments can make to save lives now:

  • Abolish tariffs on medical supplies and medicines
  • Reject export bans on medical supplies
  • Reduce customs red tape
  • Enable the free flow of relevant health data across borders
  • Maintain transparency in collecting and sharing epidemiological data
  • Increase cooperation with other countries to speed up drug approval
  • Support innovation, including intellectual property rights

Implementing these measures will help us overcome COVID-19, and if made permanent would better prepare the world for future pandemics.

Download and read the full declaration down below.