Issue Deep Dive
Germany / Global Health
Last updated: April 26, 2023
Germany was the second-largest OECD DAC donor to global health in absolute terms in 2021, but only the 16th among DAC donors in terms of its prioritization of global health.
Germany’s ODA to health grew by 40% in absolute terms from 2020 to 2021, due to Germany’s increasing response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
Germany channeled 56%, or US$2.7 billion, of its health ODA bilaterally in 2021 including 34% as [earmarked funding through multilaterals. This is below the DAC average of 70% bilateral spending, including earmarked funding to multilateral organizations.
More than half of bilateral health ODA focused on COVID-19 response and infectious disease control in 2021. Smaller shares went to health policy and administrative management, medical research, and basic nutrition. Funding for these areas increased in 2021 compared to 2020.
In addition to its bilateral funding to health, Germany channeled 44% of its health ODA to multilaterals, which is above the DAC average of 30% and higher than Germany’s contributions to multilaterals in other sectors. The largest recipients in 2021 were Gavi and the Global Fund, which are both priority multilaterals for the BMZ. Germany has a seat on the Global Fund Board and is a member of the Board’s Strategy Committee. Germany hosted Gavi’s replenishment conference in 2015 and co-hosted its COVAX AMC Summit in 2022.
Germany is supportive of the WHO and was the second-largest sovereign donor after the US during the 2022-2023 biennium. Germany has been the chair of WHO’s Working Group on Sustainable Funding and led a reform to strengthen WHO’s financial capacities, in particular by increasing member states’ unearmarked core contributions to the WHO.
During the second Global COVID-19 Summit on May 12, 2022, co-hosted the by United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal, Germany also contributed EUR50 million ( US$53 million) for the establishment of a new global health security and pandemic preparedness fund housed at the World Bank. Another contribution to the the Pandemic Fund worth EUR69 million ( US$73 million) was jointly announced by the BMZ and BMG in September 2022.
More recent pledges to multilateral organizations include:
According to the BMZ’s Agenda 2030 thematic model, ‘health, social security, and population policy’ is one of six core themes, which means that the topic should transcend legislative periods. In reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, the BMZ has also established a new subdivision titled Global Health: pandemic prevention, One Health.
Marking global health as a priority sector: The German government identified health as a priority sector in its 2021-2025 Coalition Agreement. The document prioritized strengthening global health architecture under the One Health approach, health R&D, especially in biotechnology, PRNDs, and WASH. Some of these issues are also included in the BMZ’s priority topic ‘Global health and physical self-determination’, which is one of four priorities.
Leveraging G7 and G20 presidencies to sharpen leadership in global health: Under former Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany came forward as a leader in global health after 2015. Germany prioritized global health during both its previous G7 and G20 presidencies in 2017 and 2022, respectively. Under the German G20 presidency in 2017, the health ministers of G20 countries met for the first time to discuss global health issues such as pandemic preparedness, health system strengthening, and AMR. Research on AMR and pandemic preparedness are also among Germany’s key priorities for its G7 Presidency in 2022.
Advancing SDG 3: In April 2018, the former Chancellor Merkel, together with her Ghanaian and Norwegian counterparts, suggested that the WHO should convene global health actors to develop a Global Action Plan with interim milestones toward reaching SDG 3: Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, by 2030. That same year, Germany was the first country to establish a formal parliamentary sub-committee on global health. At the beginning of 2019, the Global Health Hub Germany was launched to strengthen the link between national research institutions and domestic mechanisms to enhance the country’s capacity and expertise in global health matters.
New global health strategy: In October 2020, the German Federal Cabinet also adopted a new cross-ministerial global health strategy for 2020-2030, entitled Responsibility – Innovation – Partnership: Shaping global health together to serve as the basis for Germany’s engagement in global health in accord with SDG 3. The strategy outlines five strategic priorities in global health:
- Promoting health and preventing diseases;
- Mitigating the health effects of climate change;
- Health systems strengthening and UHC;
- Strengthening the global health architecture for epidemic and pandemic preparedness; and
- Advancing research and innovation for global health.
Launching a Global Hub for Pandemics and Epidemics: In September 2021 WHO and the German government launched a new Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence based in Berlin to strengthen cooperation between countries and scientific institutions worldwide to enhance global capacity for pandemics and epidemic forecasting. Germany contributed US$100 million in initial investment to the Hub.
One Health approach: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BMZ established a new sub-division focusing on pandemic prevention and response and One Health. In 2021, the BMZ also published its first One Health strategy, anchoring the climate-health-environment nexus in German development cooperation. The strategy gives special attention to the prevention and containment of infectious diseases, including NTDs and zoonotic infections, and the role of the WHO.
|Global health R&D is also important to address many of the global health challenges that disproportionately affect the world’s most disadvantaged people. For more information on how donor countries are supporting global health R&D across three main areas — 1) EIDs; 2) PRNDs; and 3) SRH — read the excellent G-Finder reports and explore the interactive data portal created by Policy Cures Research. Not all funding mentioned in these analyses qualifies as ODA.|
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