This past weekend, leaders of the world’s major economies gathered in Hamburg, Germany, for this year’s G20 Summit. Among the issues on the agenda: safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems.

The G20 Leaders’ Declaration – the outcome document endorsed by all countries summarizing the content of discussions during the Summit – included safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems in the section entitled “Building Resilience” alongside issues like addressing financial system risks and vulnerabilities.

The Leaders’ Declaration stated: “We advocate for sufficient and sustainable funding to strengthen global health capacities, including for rapid financing mechanisms and the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. Furthermore, we see a need to foster R&D preparedness through globally coordinated models as guided by the WHO R&D Blueprint, such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).”

On the second day of the Summit, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, newly-elected director-general of the World Health Organization, gave an address entitled “Health emergencies represent some of the greatest risks to the global economy and security,” outlining four priority actions to strengthen global health security: sustainably financing the global health security system, mapping preparedness capacities to enhance coordination, pursuing universal health coverage and prioritizing research and development of new medical countermeasures. “Delivering on these priorities will cost money but only a fraction of what remaining unprepared will cost,” he emphasized.

In April, as preparation for the Summit was accelerating, the Sabin Vaccine Institute participated in an event in Berlin entitled “‘Research for Impact’ & the G20: How can global health innovation drive sustainable development?” which brought together leaders from nonprofits, governments and multilateral institutions working to accelerate innovation in global health. Members of the Global Health Coalition assembled at the event, including Sabin, signed an open letter calling G20 leaders to address rising global health challenges, including antimicrobial resistance, poverty-related and neglected diseases, and pandemic preparedness and response.

The following month, the first-ever meeting of G20 Health Ministers included a focus on global health preparedness and the promise of new initiatives like CEPI.

Sabin welcomes the G20’s commitments to these issues including its pledge to keep global health high on the political agenda, combat emerging and infectious diseases and foster R&D for epidemic preparedness, in particular for diseases at risk of the development of antimicrobial resistance.

See the full text of the Global Health Coalition's open letter and recommendations to G20 leaders below:


Photo credit: Quadriga Forum Berlin, Laurin Schmid