Preparedness & Resilience for Emerging Threats Initiative (PRET Initiative)

Context: World Health Organisation (WHO) launched PRET initiative to improve pandemic preparedness.

PRET Initiative

  • PRET Initiative is an innovative approach launched by World Health Organisation (WHO) for improving disease pandemic preparedness and prevention by providing guidance on integrated planning for responding 
  • Uses a mode of transmission approach to guide countries in pandemic planning.  
  • Aims to strengthen existing systems and capacities and fill gaps in existing systems. 
  • PRET’s first module will aim at boosting pandemic preparedness for respiratory pathogens such as influenza, coronaviruses or respiratory syncytial virus. The process for identifying next group of pathogens like arboviruses is underway. 
  • Recognises three tiers of systems and capacities relevant for pandemic preparedness:
  1. Cross-cutting for all or multi-hazards
  2. Relevant for groups of pathogens (respiratory arboviruses)
  3. Specific to a pathogen


  • It is an informal coordination forum convened by WHO to strengthen networking for respiratory pathogen preparedness planning.
  • R-PEF enables WHO and partners to exchange information on planned activities, lessons learnt, gaps and needs, reviews and other developments relating to pandemic preparedness for respiratory pathogens.
  • R-PEF will focus on elements common to respiratory pathogen preparedness. It does not advise or provide inputs for purposes of norms and standards setting to WHO. 

Respiratory Pathogens Pandemic Resource Pack (R-PRP)

  • Updated resources for respiratory pathogens with pandemic potential will be collectively houses in R-PRP, web-portal.
  • Objective of R-PRP is to support a harmonised approach to planning for future pandemics caused by respiratory pathogens.
  • This resource pack will:
  1. Incorporate lessons learned from respiratory pathogen epidemics and pandemics such as influenza, MERS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2
  2. Provide a broader respiratory pathogen focus with pathogen specific elements where needed.
  3. Leverage new modalities for partner engagement and shared learning.
  4. Capitalise on current momentum to strengthen national functional capacities for preparedness and response. 

Significance of PRET Initiative

  • Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and possible threat of avian influenza, this module will enable countries to critically review, test and update their respiratory pandemic planning efforts to ensure they have functional capacities and capabilities in place.
  • One-Health Approach: PRET is based on the philosophy of One Health which recognises that most new pathogens originate first in animals and that preventing, preparing and responding to emerging threats requires multi-sector action.
  • Focus on Mode of Transmission: PRET focuses on Mode of Transmission of pathogens to guide countries in pandemic planning, rather than a focus on specific diseases. 
  • Makes way for Pandemic Accord: PRET can also serve to operationalise the objectives and provisions of the Pandemic Accord, which is currently being negotiated by Member States of WHO.

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