G20 Health Ministers Commit to Emergency Preparedness and Response

The Declaration of the G20 Meeting of Health Ministers released on October 4, 2018, highlighted the need for a global, coordinated response to the health emergencies. The Health Ministers made a firm commitment to collaborate with national and international stakeholders on global health security preparedness and response initiatives. By aligning activities and reducing the duplication of efforts, it provides mutual benefits for everyone involved in infectious disease outbreaks – one of the main goals of GloPID-R.

In 2017, the focus was on the response to a health crisis, but this year the emphasis is on the collaboration of many sectors to be prepared by strengthening their national capacities, including early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. This supports the Sustainable Development Goal 3.

The Declaration states: “We reinforce the need for joint commitment by G20 countries and the international community to strengthen core capacities for intervention: detection, preparedness and response to emergencies.”

GloPID-R works in parallel with this Declaration by uniting global research funders who are working in advance of the next outbreaks while simultaneously responding to current ones. Most recently, in several GloPID-R members coordinated a funding response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Declaration recognizes the WHO with its global mandate to lead on disease outbreaks and emergencies. To that end, WHO plays a key role with the UN to make sure it has the systems in place to properly respond to a health crisis. The Health Ministers support WHO’s leadership in the event of Public Health Emergencies (PHEs) of international concern. As a member of GloPID-R (observer status), WHO provides guidance and helps the members to make decisions that are consistent with WHO priorities.

Also, the Health Ministers expressed their appreciation for WHO’s work in developing the WHO Emergency Reform. They asked that WHO looks into a Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) to help the organization deliver a rapid response to “save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain the dignity of those in need.” GloPID-R members also recognize the need to have funding readily available for research and most recently, Wellcome Trust and DFID coordinated funding for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In December 2018 in Lyon, France, WHO will host a high-level conference on cross-sector coordination for preparedness in public health emergencies. GloPID-R stakeholders are looking forward to hearing more about the important discussions and outcomes from this important meeting.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.