Public Hearing

International Perspectives on Pandemic Preparedness and Response



As a part of its ongoing enquiry into the normative issues of dealing with pandemics, the German Ethics Council is currently developing longer-term perspectives that go beyond the Coronavirus crisis. At the latest when a pandemic turns into a public health emergency of international concern, its effective control can only be achieved through the worldwide cooperation of a multitude of actors. Now, the Ethics Council attends to this global dimension of pandemic control in a Public Hearing. By exchanging ideas with international experts, the Council members intend to learn from the experiences made in other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, tensions between national interests and the postulates of global justice and solidarity will also be addressed.

Among others, the following questions will be discussed with the experts:

  • What ethical principles were used to decide on pandemic response measures in different countries?
  • In an international comparison, which strategies were particularly successful in controlling the pandemic?
  • Which communication strategies have proven successful in winning citizens’ acceptance of restrictions on their liberties related to the pandemic?
  • What role can and should vaccination programmes play in pandemic response in the long term? What obstacles have to be overcome on a global scale?
  • How can the commitment to international solidarity be strengthened in the fight against the pandemic?
  • What could a new normality with or after the Covid-19 pandemic look like?


Alena Buyx · Chair of the German Ethics Council

Ethical Issues in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Are Lessons ever Learned?
Ross Upshur · University of Toronto, Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health (pdf | 6.1 MB)

Ethical Governance during Covid-19: The United Kingdom Experience
Jonathan Montgomery · University College London, Faculty of Laws (pdf | 0.6 MB)

International Cooperation to Increase Access to Covid-19 Vaccines
Felix Stein · University of Oslo, Centre for Development and the Environment (pdf | 7.2 MB)

Questions to the experts

Closing words
Alena Buyx · Chair of the German Ethics Council

Andreas Kruse · German Ethics Council
Frauke Rostalski · German Ethics Council


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