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Equitable Access and Collaboration:
G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Statement
G7 Foreign and Development Ministers, London, May 5, 2021
We, the Foreign and Development Ministers of the G7, affirm our common goals: to bring the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to an end, achieve an inclusive and sustainable global recovery and lead open, transparent and multilateral efforts for sustainable long-term approaches to improve pandemic preparedness and response and counter biological threats. We commit to G7 leadership to drive the changes needed to help the world achieve these goals.
Our statement looks forward to the forthcoming G20 Global Health Summit in Rome and to its Declaration. As Foreign and Development Ministers of the G7, we set out our specific contributions to our goal shared with the G20 to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure preparedness for future threats.
As a global community, our collective action has seen the development, manufacture and distribution of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 at unprecedented speed and scale. Over the course of 2020, we have achieved in a year something that usually takes a decade. We have also accelerated research, introduction and scale-up of new and cost-effective tools for diagnostics and treatment into country health systems, although we recognise that much more is needed. Together with G20 countries, we have supported the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator and key international health partners, including the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Unicef, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, the Wellcome Trust and Unitaid. Together we have developed the pioneering COVAX Facility to share risks and resources, and G7 countries have committed over US$5.3bn to the Gavi hosted COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) (64% of financing required for 2021) that aims to provide at least 1.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to eligible low- and middle-income countries in 2021.
We know that no one is safe until everyone is safe. We recognise the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable and marginalised groups, particularly women and girls, and how a particular focus is needed on reaching these groups. We understand that our common health and security can only be achieved through a focus on those who are the most vulnerable, face the most significant obstacles and need the greatest support, consistent with a public health approach. We recognise the importance of equitable global access to COVID-19 tools, and effective health systems that can deliver an end to the acute phase of the pandemic and prevent, detect and control future outbreaks, including the emergence of new variants. Transparent and effective multilateral collaboration has been the key driver of our success so far. It must be at the heart of our approach this year to end the acute phase of the pandemic and best prepare the international community for the future. We recognise the critical need for international collaboration, accountability and transparency as essential for preventing, detecting, reporting and responding to emerging pandemic threats and for strengthening health systems and the international response architecture, including improving early warning and alert systems with clear triggers for action, supporting sustainable health security financing mechanisms, enhanced transparency and accountability, rapid sharing of information, data, and samples, and building resilience at all levels, including increased manufacturing and surge capacity and diversified supply chains.
We recall the principles set out in the Charter for Equitable Access to Covid-19 Tools by 25 countries. We will work together to pursue high quality, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics that can be produced quickly and made accessible equitably at a global scale. We also need to confront barriers to access for the world's poorest countries, and support health systems strengthening around the world to respond effectively to this pandemic and prepare for future outbreaks.
Openness, transparency and collaboration are essential to driving innovation, supporting equitable global access and improving global health and health security. G7 societies can provide the leadership needed to achieve this. Through the following points, we commit to continued collaboration, taking a multisectoral One Health approach, to reduce the likelihood of, and improve preparedness for, pandemics, outbreaks and health emergencies including new zoonotic diseases and anti-microbial resistant infections.
As a complement to our domestic activities, and bound by our shared values as open and democratic societies, we will:
1: Enable equitable access globally for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and reliable diagnostics necessary to end the acute phase of the pandemic and control future outbreaks. As vaccine rollout begins around the world, this includes supporting countries to make informed decisions on vaccine introduction and distribution, enabling timely and robust regulatory approvals, ensuring transparency in allocations and national roll-out plans, and supporting delivery through strengthening the wider health system, including reliable distribution chains. Additionally, we will promote equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines within countries, to reach the people who need them the most, including support to proactively address barriers that marginalised populations may face, and to address priority populations in humanitarian and conflict settings. In collaboration with the WHO and other stakeholders, we need to strengthen R&D investment and coordination, to rapidly share information, data, and samples, build testing and sequencing capability, including information sharing platforms for monitoring new variants, and ensure stringent regulatory processes are in place to assess vaccines are safe and effective. We reconfirm our commitment to support the ACT-Accelerator and the COVAX AMC both as major donors and through utilising other finance mechanisms.
2: Protect open, secure, diverse and resilient supply chains for global equitable access. The private sector will be essential partners in supplying vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics at speed and at scale globally. We recognise the importance of global value chains and will work with industry to encourage and support, on voluntary and mutually agreed terms, licensing, technology transfer, contract manufacturing and public-private costs and risk sharing. With input from the public and private sector, we will identify and support the implementation of a range of options for scaling up the development, manufacturing, and distribution capacities needed for equitable and timely access to high-quality, safe, effective and affordable diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
3: Enable the greatest possible global uptake of vaccines that have been approved or authorised by stringent regulatory authorities, or have been prequalified or listed for emergency use by WHO, including through engagement with media and civil society to provide accurate information to people and monitor vaccine roll-out plans. We will coordinate our efforts alongside other stakeholders like WHO to increase levels of vaccine confidence globally, working to increase trust in stringently regulated vaccines. We recognise that to increase global vaccine confidence effectively, we must also support the development of tailored approaches to specific country contexts. Global uptake of stringently regulated vaccines is currently being undermined by rumours, myths, misinformation, and disinformation including from hostile state and non-state actors, and we will coordinate our efforts to combat this.
4: Reaffirm our collective commitment to support the achievement of Universal Health Coverage particularly in developing countries. Together with partner countries' domestic resources and other stakeholders, we will strengthen health systems and leave no one behind as we seek to bring the pandemic to an end and build back stronger. This is fundamental to global health and prosperity and vital for ensuring equitable global access to high-quality, safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics as part of affordable and quality essential health services, and promoting effective public health functions for preparedness and response to health threats, including in conflict and humanitarian settings.
5: Capture the lessons and successes of the collective international response to this pandemic and strengthen the multilateral system for the future. We believe it is critical to make concrete progress in 2021 to strengthen the architecture for better pandemic preparedness and response, including strengthening mechanisms and increasing sustainable financing for emergency preparedness and response and global health security, taking multisectoral and One Health approaches, informed by improved assessment and management of risk, with surge capacity for outbreak response and triggers for expanding, in the face of an emerging potential pandemic threat. This will build on the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR), the International Health Regulations (IHR) Review Committee, and the G20 High Level Independent Panel on financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (HLIP) and other reports as available and relevant. This includes collaborative multilateral mechanisms that can mobilise and coordinate partners quickly, to strengthen global pandemic preparedness and response and build more resilient health systems to ensure continued delivery of essential health services, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services; encouraging new public health guidance in consultation with national and relevant international organisations on international travel by sea or air, including cruise ships, and strengthening the WHO so it can perform its coordinating and leading role and improve implementation of the IHRs; and close coordination between the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions and international global health initiatives, that can foster the greatest efficiencies, responsiveness and accountability in the use and deployment of investments through these different channels; and longer-term considerations such as exploring the potential value of a global health treaty.
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