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Beating Covid-19 with public health measures

Recommendation 2222 (2022)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 27 January 2022 (7th sitting) (see Doc. 15444, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Mr Stefan Schennach). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2022 (7th sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2424 (2022) “Beating Covid-19 with public health measures”. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over. It is thus urgent that all countries learn the lessons of the pandemic so far, starting with the implementation of the necessary public health and social measures to get the pandemic under control. The toolkit for governments on respecting democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the framework of the Covid-19 health crisis, issued by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, thus remains fully relevant.
2. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis as it affects societies and economies at their core with increasing poverty and inequalities both within member States and around the world, thus also resulting in a setback for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As has been pointed out several times during the pandemic, “no one is safe until everyone is safe”. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers support the necessary paradigm shift to beat Covid-19 with public health measures in a human rights-compliant way and begin to prepare for future threats, such as the climate crisis, including by recommending that member States:
2.1 implement the recommendations set out in Resolution 2424 (2022), and Resolution 2329 (2020) “Lessons for the future from an effective and rights-based response to the Covid-19 pandemic”;
2.2 support reform of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the proposal to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument, under its constitution, to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
3. The Assembly welcomes the creation of the Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health (CDBIO) and recommends that the Committee of Ministers promote close co-operation and co-ordination between this committee, WHO headquarters and WHO Regional Office for Europe, the Committee of Social Rights, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) and the Assembly, with a view to ensuring that the committee can act as a scientific and policy interface to support appropriate pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.