G7 health ministers unite to secure a healthy future: responding to pandemic outbreaks faster, fighting antimicrobial resistance and creating climate-neutral health systems.
“Global crises force the leading industrial countries to take action. Such crises show how important it is to band together internationally in order to meet these challenges. And to do so today, since we need to help Ukraine, protect the world from new pandemics, limit the impact of climate change and maintain the efficacy of antibiotics. It is a great achievement that as the G7 we have succeeded in agreeing on a pandemic pact. In doing so, we underline the following: This pandemic will not be the last. We must take precautions today to avoid a new surprise tomorrow,” said Federal Minister of Health, Prof Karl Lauterbach. The G7 health ministers came together from 19 to 20 May 2022 in Berlin and discussed topics that included the newly introduced Pact for Pandemic Readiness strengthening the global health architecture through highlighting the role of World Health Organization (WHO), tackling the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance and climate and health. Additionally, the G7 health ministers met with the G7 finance ministers as well as the G7 development ministers for joint discussions.
Today's health policy also always constitutes global policy
The G7 criticized the unjustified, unprovoked and illegal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. In this context, they emphasised the extensive disruption of the Ukrainian health system. Hundreds of hospitals and healthcare facilities have been destroyed. The G7 declared to continue their support for the reconstruction efforts, especially by strengthening the health system. Prof Karl Lauterbach said after the joint meeting with the G7 Development Ministers and Health Ministers: “Ukraine does not only need arms; it needs hospitals and medical care as well. The G7 Ministers condemn the bombing of healthcare facilities and are discussing how to provide assistance to rebuild the country’s health infrastructure.”
G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness
The G7 Health Ministers agreed on a Pact for Pandemic Readiness to identify pandemic outbreaks faster and guarantee a more effective response by strengthening early warning systems for effective pandemic preparedness. In addition, more experts are to be trained in order to form networks to identify and control future outbreaks as quickly as possible. The WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin will be used so that data can be analysed and used faster and better. The WHO, which plays a central coordinating role in the global health architecture, has to be strengthened financially. That is why the G7 support the gradual increase of mandatory contributions to WHO to 50 per cent of the current core mandate of the WHO budget, so that WHO can better exercise its leadership role. Underlining the Pact, a pandemic simulation was conducted with the G7 partners, simulating an outbreak of the fictive disease “leopardpox”. Federal Minister of Health, Prof Karl Lauterbach summarized the discussion as follows: “We need to coordinate global pandemic preparedness and response even better. But pandemic response also requires practice. That is why we simulated a new pandemic scenario and discussed how existing gaps can be closed. And this includes further strengthening WHO’s coordinating role.”
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
The G7 want to fight against the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is a socio-economic challenge that costs more than a million lives every year and has enormous financial and social consequences. Modern medicine depends on effective antibiotics. That is why it is crucial to ensure a sustainable market for existing and new antibiotics. Recognising country-specific circumstances and competences, the G7 will discover a range of market incentive options. The G7 countries aim to strengthen innovation and to finance the research and development of new antimicrobials. Additionally, inefficacious or unavailable antimicrobial treatments often lead to sepsis as a result of which an estimated 11 million people worldwide die each year. That is why the appropriate use of antimicrobials has to be improved. The G7 plan to decide on national measurable targets on AMR in line with domestic authorities by the end of 2023. Additionally, the G7 intend to strengthen the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.
Climate change and health
The G7 acknowledge that climate protection is health protection. Health expertise has to be involved in climate decision-making processes, following the One Health approach and securing cross-sectoral cooperation. The G7 countries commit to transform their health systems to being environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. The WHO has an important role in providing guidance for the development of these climate-neutral health systems. Furthermore, protection from the health impact of climate change is important. Using early warning systems for health protection, integrating climate adaptation measures into the education and training of health professionals and promoting cooperation between G7 public health institutes on climate and health are the main topics.
Cross-sectoral cooperation is key: meeting with G7 Development and Finance Ministers
How can we fulfil our commitment to achieve the sustainable development goals? How can we accelerate vaccination in developing countries? How can we strengthen global health architecture and financing to improve effectiveness, and avoid fragmentation and duplication in particular among multilateral organisations? On 19 May 2022, the G7 Development and Health Ministers met for a joint session on “supporting vaccine equity and pandemic preparedness in developing countries”. The ministers discussed two key issues: accelerating equitable and sustainable access to safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics in developing countries and strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, the G7 Health Ministers had a discussion on global health topics in a joint meeting with G7 Finance Ministers and international organisations. The ministers agreed to close financing gaps that have been identified by the G20 Joint Finance-Health Taskforce. Therefore, a new financial intermediary fund for pandemic preparedness and response will be set up.
The outcome documents can be downloaded here:
- Concept Note - G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness
- G7 Health Ministers’ Communiqué
- Chairs’ Summary – Joint Working Session of the G7 Development and Health Ministers “Supporting vaccine equity and pandemic preparedness in developing countries”
- G7 Development Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué
- G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Petersberg Communiqué
Picture: Copyright Photothek | BMG
Further news articles on the German G7 Presidency:
- Results of the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin, 19–20 May 2022 (English)
- G7: Die Engagementgruppen als Impulsgeber für das Gipfeldokument (German)
- G7: The Communiqués of the Ministerial Meetings at a Glance (English)
- Recap: Discussing the Future of Global Health And the Role of the G7 (English)
- Full-length recording of the webinar "G7 Engagement Groups - Accelerating the Development and Access to Vaccines and Therapeutics" on 5 April 2022 (English)
- Full-length recording of the webinar "Presentation and open dialogue on the key priorities in Global Health within the German G7 presidency” on 9 March 2022 (English)
- Deutsche G7-Präsidentschaft: Die Schwerpunkte in der Globalen Gesundheit (German)