Among its many impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced a crucial truth about threats to global health – they require rapid, effective, and sustained international cooperation. It is in that context that we are pleased to announce that Ambassador Pamela K. Hamamoto has been selected to be lead U.S. Pandemic Negotiator on the proposed accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response currently being discussed at the World Health Organization.
This announcement reflects the commitment by the United States to take a whole-of-government approach to the negotiating process by putting into place a strong team, led by the Departments of State and Health and Human Services, with active engagement across U.S. departments and agencies responsible for development, security, economic, and other issues.
As lead U.S. Pandemic Negotiator, Ambassador Hamamoto will assume management and oversight of U.S. engagement in these important discussions, which we believe must yield an accord 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.
Prior to this assignment, Ambassador Hamamoto served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva (2014-2017), where she engaged regularly with international leaders on a wide range of global issues, including humanitarian affairs, sustainable development, global health, human rights, peace and security, women’s empowerment, internet governance, and climate change.
Ambassador Hamamoto also helped coordinate early responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2015, working across regions and institutions to rally support to the three affected countries and a strengthened WHO response.
In 2015, she co-founded International Gender Champions, a global network of leaders committed to advancing gender equality through specific actions and policy changes. She was also instrumental in the 2014 launch of the Global Health Security Agenda, a global effort that has grown to more than 70 partners focused on strengthening the world’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.
We believe Ambassador Hamamoto is ideally suited for this role, and look forward to supporting her efforts to develop and achieve a pandemic accord that promotes American health and security, as well as that of the globe.