There is now a frantic race to market worldwide for credible digital health pass systems. Recognising that it is unlikely there will be a single, universal solution, but stressing the risks of a highly fragmented approach, the Good Health Pass Collaborative has announced an inclusive, cross-sector initiative on such systems.
Restoring international travel means restoring confidence; confidence of travellers and of governments who have an obligation to protect the health of their citizens.
Currently, COVID-19 test results are required for entry at most airports and at international borders, but paper-based certificates are seen as easy to lose, unnecessarily expose sensitive personal information, and are prone to fraud and counterfeiting.
Seeing the benefits of digital health credentials that can be printed (e.g. as a QR code) or stored on an individual’s mobile phone, numerous efforts are underway to develop digital health credentials, both vaccination and test certificates, for international travel and a variety of other applications.
Despite this race to market, it is unlikely that a single solution will be implemented universally or even across the entire travel industry, so it is critical that solutions are designed to be interoperable, both with one another and across institutional and geographic borders.
The Good Health Pass Collaborative has announced it is bringing together companies and organisations from the technology, health, and travel sectors. Its members are aiming to create a blueprint for interoperable digital health pass systems, and so build a safe path to restore international travel and restart the global economy.
The Collaborative states that fragmentation is a risk that cannot be ignored. To be valuable to users, credentials need to be accepted at check-in, upon arrival by border control agencies, and more. It is possible to get there, even with multiple systems, as long as solutions adhere to open standards and participate in a common governance framework. But without these, fragmentation is inevitable, and travellers, and the economy, will continue to suffer needlessly as a result.
The Good Health Pass Collaborative is not intended to supplant existing digital health pass efforts, but to help weave them together, fill gaps where they may exist, and assist collaboration among a new ecosystem of stakeholders, many of whom have never worked together.
It is inviting the participation of policymakers; representatives of government agencies; companies in the health, technology, and travel sectors; and civil society organisations who share a commitment to restoring international travel while ensuring that equity, privacy, and other civil liberties are protected.