Introduction sectionG20 Finance Track deputies to discuss financing health preparedness

G20 Finance Track deputies to discuss financing health preparedness

In few weeks, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors (FMCBGs) will gather in Venice for the first in-person meeting under the Italian G20 Presidency. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, since February 2020, all G20 activities have been held online. Nonetheless, G20 members have been working hard to support the global economy in this current crisis and ensure that the world is better prepared to tackle the next one.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to improve prevention, surveillance, preparedness and response to global health challenges. While experts believe that we have entered an age of pandemics, the international community is called upon to find solutions designed to mitigate the human, economic and social costs that a new crisis may generate.

 

Within this context, on Tuesday 15 June 2021, G20 Deputies met to advance on such a crucial G20 work stream ahead of the 9-10 July G20 FMCBG meeting.

 

The international community is making great efforts to develop and distribute vaccines globally and to strengthen disease surveillance networks. Recent economic estimates, provided by the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, are a beacon of hope for a fast recovery. Yet, the consequences of the crisis will weigh on our societies in the future and long term mechanisms to ensure global health are worryingly lacking.

 

The G20 is aware and believes that, without a proper funding system, the world may be unable to manage future epidemics. To address this concern, in January 2021, the G20 established a High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) to find solutions designed to finance the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response in the long run.

 

A distinguished Group of Experts are meeting regularly to map financing gaps and propose solutions to meeting them on a systematic and sustainable basis, and to optimally leveraging resources from the public, private and philanthropic sectors and the International Financial Institutions.

 

The Panel is co-chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Foreign and Finance Minister, Nigeria, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Singapore, and Lawrence Summers, Former United States Treasury Secretary.

 

The Panel provided a first Progress Note to the G20 FMCBGs in April, highlighting that, as viruses respect no borders, a functioning system for financing pandemic prevention, preparedness and response must essentially be recognised by the international community as a global public good. Furthermore, ensuring a widespread global access is both a scientific and economic need and a commitment to leaving no one behind.

 

On 21 May, two Co-chairs of the Group, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Lawrence Summers, presented the initiative at the G20 Global Health Summit (GHS), co-hosted in Rome by the European Commission and the Italian G20 Presidency.

 

The Panel first activities showed that funding is grossly inadequate, fragmented, overly reliant on ad-hoc contributions and not reactive enough. The current crisis must be taken as a major opportunity to chart a course for enhanced financing that transforms the global ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to pandemics. In order to do so, it would be crucial to assure more reliable, continuous financing during ‘peacetime’, as well as the capacity to mobilize funds swiftly to meet the growing needs during a pandemic.

 

The members recognised the key role that robust and inclusive national healthcare systems can play, especially in Low Income Countries and Lower-Middle Income Countries. Strengthening national systems to prepare for future pandemics also serves ongoing public health needs, tackling emerging infectious diseases, and the longer term development of human capital.

 

The Panel will present its final report at the G20 FMCBG meeting in Venice, which will then be taken forward by an informal group of work composed of experts from Finance and Health Ministries, with the support of the WHO, and other relevant international organizations. Final follow-up actions, together with the report of the HLIP, will finally be presented for adoption at the Joint G20 Meeting of Finance and Health Ministers next October.

 

All the Panel’s activities, related background material and information are available in a dedicated website (https://pandemic-financing.org/), which has been launched to promote the Panels activities.

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