An impartial and comprehensive inquiry into the origin of Covid-19 and the global response to the pandemic is essential.
There have been increasing calls by various countries and health and scientific experts for such an investigation.
Australia led the charge on drafting a resolution on the matter, which was co-sponsored by more than 100 nations by the time it was presented to the World Health Organisation's 194 member states at its (virtual) meeting of the World Health Assembly this week.
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In the finish, the resolution was unanimously passed - although only after threats of a WHO exit and total funding cut by the United States and belated and conditional support from China, which insisted on waiting until the crisis was over before any probe begins.
Given all the concern and criticism - the allegations of blame, bribery, bullying, cover-ups and conspiracies, the threats over trade and tariffs and funding - the global agreement is surprising but certainly welcome.
However, it is crucial that all key areas outlined are investigated, namely the source of the virus and how it was introduced to humans; the WHO's own response and timeline; an assurance about access to any treatments or vaccines; and that the investigation process is "impartial, independent and comprehensive".
Given the politics at play - not just internationally, but within countries' own often partisan settings - it would be naive to think the process will not be without obstacles. The power struggle and point-scoring between China and the US has the potential to influence proceedings. A whitewashed report will do the world no favours, however. It is vital countries - individually and collectively - learn everything possible from this pandemic in order for the necessary measures to be adopted to provide the best chance of preventing another such widespread crisis and such significant loss of life.
A clean slate is needed to begin the process, co-operation necessary to enable it - and it is to be hoped stronger international collaboration might be one of the benefits to come from it.
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The details and timeline for the investigation are not yet clear. It could be problematic for the WHO to lead the inquiry, given is under the gun itself, including for its own handling of the pandemic. Its response should certainly be examined but also its role, structure, and whether it is adequately funded and resourced - and respected.
A new agency might be best. A suggestion has been made that the best mode for an independent inquiry could be the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), where hundreds of the world's top scientists review evidence from a non-partisan perspective.
New Zealand will surely have a role to play. We have been hailed by others as a world leader in terms of the initial success of our health response. Certainly our experience should help inform the inquiry. Likewise that of Australia, where the virus has been largely contained.
But we must also learn from the experiences of others, including the likes of Sweden, where a herd-immunity strategy differs from many and the success or failure of which may only become apparent in the longer term.
And that is the argument perhaps for a delayed inquiry - or certainly an ongoing inquiry or follow-up. China's desire to delay any inquiry has been viewed negatively but it is obvious the wider picture will only emerge over time. Initial successes could prove failures as countries come out of lockdown and open borders. Likewise, the economic repercussions of different strategies will become evident only in the fullness of time.
There seems no reason why an investigation into the source of the virus cannot begin as soon as possible, however. It is important to eradicate some of the more outlandish claims regarding the origin of the virus that are particularly prevalent on social media.
Whatever form the inquiry takes - and whenever it is done - the world must learn from this.
Epidemiologists have been saying for decades such a widespread and deadly pandemic was not only inevitable but that the world was ill-prepared for it.
Only last year, in a frighteningly prescient simulation, the United States' "Crimson Contagion" imagined a scenario in which the US had to respond to a severe influenza pandemic originating in China. The findings were stark and showed the system severely wanting.
Now, mere months later, the reality has exposed the gaps for the world to see - even as President Donald Trump argues his country's soaring case numbers are a "badge of honour".
There are parallels here with the world's climate change response - and the decades of warnings. We have learned during the pandemic it is possible to make a noticeable and instant difference to the environment - albeit in extreme circumstances. It would be a terrible waste, and an insult to the lives lost and the suffering of many, if the world didn't also use the knowledge gained during this time to make meaningful inroads into health, economic stability and social justice.