The world continues to blame COVID, and the poorest countries’ lack access to adequate vaccine supplies and the logistics to deliver them. The “Global South” has been calling for global health equity while the “Global North” has emphasized the need for global health security. International organizations remain deeply engaged in the current pandemic response even as the World Health Organization also looks to the future. WHO member states have begun negotiating a possible pandemic treaty so the world is better prepared for the next pandemic. Its prospects are uncertain.
Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.) is Senior Fellow for Global Health Diplomacy at the United Nations Foundation, where he focuses on issues related to global health security and the work of the World Health Organization. He has held leadership positions in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Measles & Rubella Initiative. Earlier, he spent four years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation engaging in high-level global health advocacy with African governments.
Lange had a distinguished 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, where he was a pioneer in the field of global health diplomacy and a leader in pandemic preparedness and response. He was the State Department’s Special
Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza from 2006-2009. He also served tours of duty as Deputy Inspector General; Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the inception of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and U.S. Ambassador to Botswana and Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community (1999-2002), where HIV/AIDS was his signature issue.
Lange led the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as Chargé d’Affaires at the time of the August 7, 1998, Al-Qaeda bombing, for which he received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. Earlier, he had tours of duty at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and the American Embassies in Lomé, Togo; Paris, France; and Mexico City, Mexico.
He has an M.S. degree from the National War College and J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.