German G20 Presidency 2017: Identifying health threats and taking action
Project titel: German G20 Presidency: Identifying health threats and taking action – Is the world better prepared?
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG)
Overall term: 2016 to 2017
Germany assumed the G20 Presidency on 1 December 2016. The summit of the heads of state and government of the world’s major industrialised and emerging economies will take place in Hamburg in July 2017. Traditionally, global economic growth and the regulation of financial markets have been a focus of the G20, a central forum for international cooperation. Since 2010, the G20 has also turned its attention to development cooperation issues; however, the topic of health has rarely been addressed.
In its presidency, Germany has given health a high profile on the G20 agenda, drawing on the positive results and experience from the G7 presidency in 2015. One particular focus will be on the prevention and management of pandemics. The Ebola crisis in western Africa demonstrated how the outbreak of a communicable disease can lead to a global crisis, with negative impacts on social and economic development. Although many lessons have been learned and put into practice, the world is still not sufficiently prepared to tackle future health threats. International coordination must be improved, not only in the event of crises but also in terms of crisis preparedness.
Against this background, the G20 health ministers will meet for the first time in Berlin in May 2017 and carry out a health crisis simulation exercise.
The German Federal Ministry of Health has commissioned GIZ to provide support for this process.
The issue of health is firmly established on the G20 agenda. The G20 member states advocate further commitment to improving global health crisis management and to strengthening health systems.
GIZ supports the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) in coordinating the entire process, in particular coordination with the G20 member states. In cooperation with Robert Koch Institute, GIZ provides technical advice on priority areas in the health sector and on designing the G20 health ministers’ simulation exercise. On behalf of the Ministry, GIZ is additionally organising various specialist and political events on health as part of the G20 presidency.
A steering group has been set up to prepare and coordinate the topic of health for the G20, comprising the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Chancellery, Robert Koch Institute and GIZ. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank are providing support in designing the simulation exercise.
A G20 Health Working Group has been formed to deliberate on the issue of health and work towards making it an integral part of the G20 process. The group convenes to ensure best possible preparation of the G20 health ministers’ meeting. Its members include G20 health experts and representatives of WHO, OECD and the World Bank.
The G20 health ministers will meet ahead of the summit of heads of state and government to discuss their positions with regard to antimicrobial resistance, strengthening health care systems and global health crisis management. The ministers will also carry out a health crisis simulation exercise on this occasion. The aim is for them to experience and internalise the procedures involved in effective global health crisis management and identify core topics for an improved response to health crises. The key points are to be summarised in a joint declaration by the G20 health ministers. The health crisis simulation exercise and the declaration will be the cornerstones for firmly establishing the issue of health with the G20 heads of state and government and within the G20 communiqué.
The inclusion of health on the G20 agenda was initiated with an expert meeting in December 2016 entitled ‘Taking action against health threats – Is the world better prepared?’. More than 100 health experts from the G20 countries, international organisations, industry, science and civil society came together to share their views on lessons learned from the Ebola crisis and future priorities derived for health crisis management. There was mutual agreement on the need for a broader international exchange, promotion of the role of WHO and improved compliance with International Health Regulations (IHR). This was followed by the first meeting of the G20 Health Working Group at the end of February 2017.