Preparing for, and responding to, future pandemics and other international health emergencies

Closed 24 Sep 2023

Opened 7 Aug 2023

Feedback updated 22 Dec 2023

We asked

We asked the Australian community and key stakeholders to provide their views on what they wanted to see in the new pandemic instrument and amended International Health Regulations (2005) to inform Australia's engagement in negotiations.

You said

A total of 4,521 submissions were received from individuals and a range of stakeholder groups, including academic and research institutes; non-government and community organisations; peak bodies and unions; and private sector institutions. 

We did

We have considered submissions received and identified key themes. A report containing a summary of the key themes and a Government response is available here


Australia is participating in two important processes to strengthen the international community’s capacity to prevent, prepare for, and respond to, pandemics and other international health emergencies:  

  • the negotiation of a new international legal instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, and  

  • targeted changes to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) through the World Health Organization (WHO).  

To date, Member States of the WHO, including Australia, have met to discuss initial views and priorities for a draft pandemic instrument text and proposed changes to the IHR. Australia’s priorities have been informed by lessons learned from our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as through consultation within the Australian Government and targeted consultation with interest groups.  

To inform your responses to this online survey, we have prepared a consultation paper outlining the current status of negotiations and our core priorities to date.

Why your views matter

As we move forward in the negotiation processes, we are seeking the views of Australian stakeholders and the community through this online survey on what you want to see in a new pandemic instrument and amended IHR. Your views will help inform Australia’s engagement in negotiations.  

We are particularly seeking your views on the following questions: 

  • How can international cooperation be improved to more effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to, future pandemics and other international health emergencies? 

  • What issues do you think need to be prioritised to guide the world’s future preparation for, and responses to, future pandemics and other international health emergencies? 

  • Is there any other information you would like to provide that might help to guide Australia’s engagement on a new international pandemic instrument and changes to the IHR? 

Please note that your submissions as part of this consultation process will not be responded to directly. However, the Department will release an analysis of responses provided. Please note, responses submitted through this consultation process will not be attributed to individuals or organisations. The Department may not accept: 

  • submissions provided outside of this online survey; 
  • submissions which contain offensive or defamatory comments, or which are outside the scope of the consultation; 
  • submissions included as attachments (however, the Department may accept attachments that enhance text box responses and are explanatory); and 
  • comments received after the consultation deadline (11.59PM AEST on 24 September 2023). 

What happens next

Will there be other opportunities to provide feedback? 

Once negotiations for a new pandemic instrument and the IHR changes have concluded, the Australian Government will decide whether to agree to them. Elements of the pandemic instrument and the IHR changes must go through Australian parliamentary processes before Australia can take binding action. This includes consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). 

JSCOT undertakes consultation on proposed international instruments by inviting submissions from stakeholders and members of the public. Information on how to be involved in this will be available at Joint Standing Committee on Treaties – Parliament of Australia ( at the relevant time. 

For further information on the treaty making process please see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.  


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