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G20 Panel on Financing Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response calls on G20 to increase funding for global health by US$15.0 billion per year

The G20 High-Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (HLIP) presented its official report, 'A Global Deal for Our Pandemic Age', to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on July 9, 2021. The Panel called the G20 and international community for a public funding increase in global financing of at least US$15.0 billion per year over the next five years.

The report said that the additional US$15.0 billion per year should include US$10.0 billion annually to a Global Health Threats Fund, which should be established to support investments for pandemic preparedness and response, and US$5.0 billion per year to increase funding to existing global health international institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as creating dedicated pandemic preparedness concessional financing windows in the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).

The Panel also asked to create a new Global Health Threats Board, bringing together finance and health ministers as well as international organizations.

The Panel emphasized the importance of all nations prioritizing and sustaining domestic investments in pandemic preparedness over time.

The G20 will be taking into account the Panel’s recommendations in the lead-up to the G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Italy in October.

Report – G20

Press release G20

G20 foreign affairs and development ministers sign declaration on food security, call for partners to join Italy's Food Coalition

The G20 foreign affairs and development ministers met in Matera, Italy on June 29, 2021, to discuss the fight against COVID-19, speeding up the recovery of the global economy, the global climate change emergency, and food shortages in countries in Africa. The meeting culminated in the 'Matera Declaration on food security, nutrition and food systems. A call to action in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond'.

The signatories of this Matera declaration "agree to deliver on food security priorities by enhancing efforts in ensuring safe and adequate nutrition for all, ending all forms of malnutrition, preserving agrobiodiversity, as well as relying on science, innovation, advanced business practices and responsible behaviour complementing traditional knowledge, local food culture and best practices to achieve" the targets of the second sustainable development goal (SDG 2), 'Zero Hunger'.

The meeting renewed calls for partners to join the Food Coalition launched by Italy in partnership with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Food Coalition is a multistakeholder platform that aims to reduce the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security.

Development Ministers Meeting Communiqué - G20

Press release - FAO

With COP26 approaching, Italy to nominate Special Envoy for Climate

At the International Affairs Ministers G20 meeting, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio announced that Italy will nominate a Special Envoy for Climate.

The twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in November 2021 in Glasgow, UK, but Italy will host the pre-COP in Milan from September 30 to October 2, 2021.

Press release – Adnkronos

With G7 nations, Japan sets goal to raise US$15 billion deliver financial services to women

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) set a goal to raise US$15.0 billion to deliver finical services to women as part of the 'G7 2X Challenge: Financing for Women' (2X Challenge).

The 2X Challenge was founded by development finance institutions of the G7 nations for women’s economic empowerment. The COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation for women in emerging economies, and research shows that US$1.00 trillion could be lost from global growth if female workers hit hard by the pandemic do not return to the workforce. Therefore, with G7 nations, Japan and development finance institutions announced the goal of raising an additional US$15.0 billion by the end of 2022.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Former Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs appointed new EU Special Representative for Sahel

The European Council appointed Emanuela Del Re as one of three new European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs), with Del Re's role to be specifically on the Sahel from July 1, 2021 to August 30, 2022.

Del Re served as Italy’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from August 2018 to February 2021.  She was elected to the Italian parliament for the first time with the Five Star Movement in March 2018. Del Re is a sociologist and specialized in topics pertaining to migration, refugees, conflict studies, religion, and minority populations.

Press release – European Council website 

At G7 Summit, Canada announces new support to low-income countries for COVID-19 vaccines, climate finance, and education

At the 47th G7 Summit from June 11-13, 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new financial and resource support to address inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, respond to the climate emergency, and support education in low-income countries.  

The resource and financial pledges included:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Sharing: Canada pledged 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be shared as part of the G7 leaders’ new collective commitment to sharing more than two billion doses to the global vaccine effort. Canada is also donating 13 million doses of the vaccine through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative. The vaccine sharing is in addition to Canada’s previous contributions of CA$2.5 billion (US$2.0 billion) in international assistance to the COVID-19 crisis and CA$1.3 billion (US$1.0 billion) contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). 
  • International Climate Finance: Canada pledged a doubling of Canada’s previous international climate finance to CA$5.3 billion (US$4.2 billion) over five years—up from CA$2.7 billion (US$2.1 billion) over five years in 2015—which includes increased support for adaptation and biodiversity to support low-income countries in cutting pollution and building climate resilience. Canada also increased its grant contribution of climate financing from 30% to 40%. These new commitments are a result of the G7 leaders’ collective commitment to increase their 2030 targets to cut the G7’s collective emissions by around half compared to 2010.
  • Support for Global Partnership for Education: Canada pledged CA$300 million (US$240 million) over five years to the Global Partnership for Education. This funding will specifically support girls’ education and help strengthen education systems in low-income countries. 

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

G7 leaders agree to provide one billion vaccine doses to low-income countries; critics say this is far from enough

The leaders attending the UK-hosted G7 Summit on June 11-13, 2021, agreed to provide one billion vaccine doses to low-income countries, with the UK committing to provide 100 million.

The communique commits to sharing at least 870 million doses directly over the next year, but it is not clear whether this is related to surplus doses only.

While the move is welcome, it has been widely criticized by civil society groups and UK opposition parties as falling far short of the mark, as the World Health Organization has estimated that 11 billion doses are needed to end the pandemic. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, from the UK Labour Party, stated that the Summit was an "unforgivable moral failure". 

News article - Devex

Italy commits US$30 million to Global Partnership for Education

On June 9, 2021, in a webinar organized by Save the Children (Italy), the Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, announced a pledge of €25 million (US$30 million) to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) financing campaign, 'Raise Your Hand'.

Sereni reaffirmed the Italian priority to invest in education, especially in girls’ education. It means investing in countries' future and peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, she said.

In 2021, Italy has pledged double its previous contribution to GPE from 2018, when Italy pledged €12 million (US$14 million).

Press release - Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

UK Prime Minister calls on G7 leaders to vaccinate the world by end of 2022

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has called for his fellow G7 leaders to commit to ambitious target of vaccinating the world by the end of 2022 at the forthcoming G7 Leaders Summit on June 11-13, 2021 in Cornwall, UK.

Johnson highlighted that in order to achieve this, G7 leaders must commit to stepping up the manufacturing of vaccines, lowering the barriers to distribution especially around costs, and sharing more surplus doses with low-income countries bilaterally and via COVAX.

The UK government is the largest donor to the COVAX initiative and will later this week announce how many surplus vaccines it will share with low-income countries.

The Prime Minister will also call at the G7 Leaders’ Summit for G7 countries to support the new Global Pandemic Radar – a global surveillance system aimed at ensuring early identification of new vaccine-resistant variants to help ensure the efficacy of vaccination programs.

Press release - UK government

 

Canada and G7 leaders must cut carbon emissions more quickly and increase climate finance, says Oxfam Canada

In advance of the 47th G7 Summit commencing on June 11, 2021, Oxfam Canada is calling on Canada and other G7 leaders to take drastic action to cut carbon emissions more quickly and increase climate finance to low-income countries.

Without more ambitious climate action, Oxfam Canada projects that Canada’s economy could shrink by 6.9% annually by 2050, while across G7 nations, climate change could cause economies to contract by an average of 8.5% annually by 2050. The human and economic impact of climate change will likely be even greater for low-income countries.

The G7 is collectively falling short on its longstanding pledge to provide US$100 billion per year to help low-income countries respond to the climate crisis. Oxfam estimates that the G7’s current commitment amounts to only US$36 billion in public climate finance by 2025. 

Canada has yet to announce an increase in its climate finance commitments, and achieving Canada’s fair share would require doubling its current climate finance pledge. As a result, Oxfam Canada is calling on Canada and its G7 partners to make this year a turning point for action against climate change by increasing climate finance.

Op-ed - Oxfam Canada

G7 Health Ministers agree to clinical trials charter, strengthened approach to ONE Health, new incentives for antibiotics creation

The UK-hosted G7 Health Ministers meeting, held in Oxford on June 3-4, 2021, agreed to a set of new measures aimed at curbing future pandemics and tackling antimicrobial resistance.

The G7 health ministers agreed amongst other things to:

  • A new charter that will make it easier to share comparable and high-quality data from vaccine and therapeutic trials to assist with tackling COVID-19 and future pandemics. The charter will also enable more large-scale international trials allowing for drugs to be tested on a more diverse set of participants and it will help to avoid duplication of efforts.
  • Strengthen efforts to work together on One Health intelligence through the production of an interim report at the end of 2021 outlining how the WHO, FAO, OIE, and UNEP can work together to deliver a comprehensive set of data on emerging threats to human, animal, plant and environmental health. 
  • Establish principles to incentivize the creation of, greater access to, and the good governance of new antibiotics in response to the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.   

The G7 Health Ministers also took the opportunity to take stock of the progress that the G7 countries have made on meeting existing global health commitments. A report produced by the hosts of the G7 called the Carbis Bay Progress report showed that G7 countries have:

  • Worked with organizations and partners to strengthen health systems, with financing for general health rising from 38% in 2015 to 47% in 2019;
  • Funded partners to do more noting for example in the case of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that its health system strengthening funding grew from 21% of total spend in 2016 to 31% in 2019;
  • Supported 74 countries to strengthen the International Health Regulations which are rules for identifying a disease outbreak and stopping it from spreading; and
  • Provided support for health workers.

Finally, the UK-hosted G7 Vaccine Confidence Summit resulted in an agreement to pursue a new global campaign to build confidence in vaccines. The campaign will be taken forward by the G7 Vaccine Confidence Working Group which the UK chairs and will encourage engagement of government, NGOs, academia, and the private sector to mobilize their partners.

Press release - UK government on G7 Health Ministers Meeting

Press release - G7 Global Vaccine Confidence Summit

Communique - G7 Health Ministers’ Statement 

Report - Carbis Bay Progress Report

Oxfam Canada criticizes Canada and G7 partners on vaccine monopolies, insufficient COVID-19 response in developing countries 

Ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit from June 11-13, 2021, the People’s Vaccine Alliance and Oxfam Canada are calling on the G7 to take urgent action to close the vaccine gap between G7 states and poorer countries. 

While the G7 agreed last February to increase the global vaccine supply, they have failed to collectively back the waiver of intellectual property rules in manufacturing vaccines in low-income countries. As a result, the Alliance, Health Justice Initiative, Oxfam, and UNAIDS project that, while everyone living in G7 nations should be fully vaccinated by January 8, 2022, it would take low-income countries 57 years to reach the same rate of vaccination at the current rate. 

While some G7 leaders claim they have sufficiently supported low-income nations through funding to COVAX to support vaccine access, Oxfam Canada argued that the initiative is failing, having delivered less than a third of the doses it promised by the end of May. The Alliance warned that at the current rate, COVAX is likely to reach only 10% of people in low-income countries by the end of 2021.

Among the G7 states, only the US has backed the proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property rights, while the UK and Germany opposed it, and Canada, France, and Japan are undecided. Rather than relying solely on the COVAX initiative to support low-income countries, Oxfam Canada is calling on G7 leaders to fully support the vaccine patent waiver supported by more than 100 countries to end  pharmaceutical monopolies.

Op-ed - Oxfam Canada

Chair of G7 Pandemic Preparedness Partnership calls for key measures to ensure rapid global response to future pandemics

The chair of the UK-created G7 Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP), Sir Patrick Vallance, has called for key building blocks to be put in place to ensure a more rapid global response to future pandemics. The PPP is a public-private partnership established by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson which will report to the G7 Summit on improving global pandemic responses.

Vallance noted that the relative speed of getting a vaccine for COVID-19 was due to years of prior research into coronaviruses. He argued that the global community must learn from this and build its arsenal to be better prepared for future pandemics by:

  • Building clinical trials infrastructure across the globe;
  • Establishing a manufacturing network around the globe and ensuring easier technology transfer across the network;
  • Investing in research and development of prototype vaccines and medicines against the WHO priority pathogen list at a minimum;
  • Agreeing on new protocols on data-sharing, supply-chain movements, funding processes for R&D, and procurement or technology transfer to ensure the system functions smoothly;
  • Strengthening regulation for rapid diagnostic tests with a focus on quality and use;
  • Strengthening healthcare and public health systems and ensuring a world-class surveillance system is in place; and,
  • Investing in new technologies – like the investments made in mRNA and new modes of working to enable rapid scale-up during emergencies.

The PPP has been tasked with the target of 100 days for establishing effective, safe, and high-quality diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines produced at scale for equitable distribution. Vallance notes that the target is ambitious but it is worth aiming for and success should be measured against our progress towards achieving it.

News article - Financial Times

UK will use G7 Presidency to push for more coordinated clinical vaccine and drug trials

It is being reported that the UK government will use its G7 Presidency to push for a shared set of principles for governing clinical trials for future vaccines and drugs across G7 economies.

The UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, is likely to pursue agreement among G7 members for the set of shared principles, following the recent experience of "chaotic" and fragmented clinical trial data for COVID-19 vaccines which made it difficult to compare trial data undertaken in differing countries for differing candidates. 

G7 Health Ministers will meet on June 3-4, 2021, in Oxford, UK, and it is hoped that a broad agreement on key principles of trial standards will be reached. The more technical details of the principles will be finalized by a range of different stakeholders, including academic as well as multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization.

News article - The Telegraph

Italy pledges US$359 million to COVAX at Global Health Summit

At the Global Health Summit co-hosted by Italy and the EU, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced a US$359 million (€300 million) pledge to COVAX, the global initiative focusing on equitable access to vaccines in the world.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and World Health Organization (WHO). COVAX represents the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the global partnership to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Draghi also announced that Italy would donate 15 million doses before the end of the year to low-income countries, and Italy will pledge an additional US$239 million(€200million) to fight against the climate crisis and access to health in low-income countries.

Transcript - Italian government

UK Prime Minister calls for more investment in girls’ education, commits US$73 million for new education initiative and launches global action plan

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the G7 to invest in girls’ education, noting that it is one of the smartest investments to be made post-pandemic in order to avoid a lost generation.

Johnson announced this during his visit to a Country Durham school on May 14, 2021, along with Julia Gillard (Chair of the Global Partnership for Education (GEP) and former Prime Minister of Australia). The Prime Minister of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, also partook in the event virtually.

The UK and Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit in July 2021 with the aim of raising £3.7 billion (US$5.0 billion) for GEP over the next five years to fund its work on ensuring access to education in 90 countries.

The UK has yet to announce its contribution to GPE, though historically it is the largest donor to the organization. UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, has stated that the UK will be more generous than in previous years. In 2018, the UK provided £225 million (US$302 million) over a three-year period.

Johnson did, however, use his visit to the County Durham school to announce £55 million (US$73 million) to establish 'What Works Hub for Global Education'. The Hub will seek to share knowledge on "what works" to improve girls’ education, with a special focus on Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan.  

The UK government also unveiled a new five-year (2021-2026) global action plan on girls' education that commits the UK government to:

  • Shape a renewed international effort to ensure the world is on track to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal on 'Quality Education' (SDG 4);
  • Use its network of British Ambassadors and High Commissioners to support committed national governments in enhancing their efforts to improve girls’ education; and
  • Establish global public goods for education, in part through the creation of the new What Works Hub for Global Education, to support evidence-based and bold reforms.

News article - The Telegraph

News article - BBC

Press release - UK government

Policy paper - UK government

Italian Vice Minister of Cooperation praises COVAX and ACT-A, calls for access to COVID-19 vaccine knowledge

Italy's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, attended the sixth Facilitation Council meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the global initiative for access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatment.

At the meeting, Sereni declared that Italy strongly believes that COVAX, the vaccines pillar of ACT-A, remains the best instrument for delivering safe and effective vaccines globally. This, however, requires closing the financing gap, and Italy will announce an additional contribution to ACT-A soon. It will also make efforts to lobby other countries to donate to ACT-A.

ACT-A will be on the agenda of the upcoming Global Health Summit co-hosted by Italy and the EU Commission on May 21, 2021.

Sereni also declared that Italy is following with interest the global debate on the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver for COVID-19 vaccines and favors access to vaccine knowledge.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Video - World Health Organization 

Italy's Draghi says vaccines are "global common good", calls for global support for COVID-19 vaccine patents waiver

On May 5, 2021, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called for an unfettered supply of vaccines, calling them "a global common good" whose production must be increased "as a matter of priority." 

Draghi's remarks came after Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio praised US support of a waiver on patents for COVID-19 vaccines. Di Maio called for free access to patents as lower-income countries face acute vaccine shortages amid the pandemic and urged support for the waiver from other European countries.

Transcript - Italian government

News article - ANSA

UK hosts G7 meeting, agrees to uphold democracy, support equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, provide financial support to countries facing famine

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister, Dominic Raab, chaired a meeting of the G7’s foreign and development ministers last week on May 3-4, 2021, in London. The UK government also invited government representatives from India, Australia, South Korea, and the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reflecting the UK’s foreign policy goal of leaning in more to the Indo-Pacific region's growing strategic importance. Representatives from South Africa were also guests.

The G7 ministers agreed to defend democracy, increase funding to the COVAX Facility to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, provide funding for countries facing famine, and step up their efforts to help partner countries become more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis.

On upholding democracy and human rights, the G7 foreign and development ministers agreed to:

  • Uphold media freedom around the world, including by increasing funding to the Global Media Defence Fund;
  • Bolster their response to threats to democracy, including through a new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partnership aimed specifically at tackling threats such as vaccine disinformation; and
  • Support the new Canadian-driven action plan on tackling arbitrary detention.

On ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines, the ministers:

  • Endorsed the COVAX Facility as a primary way for countries to share vaccines globally;
  • Agreed to increase funding to the Facility, though no specific pledges of increased funding were announced; and
  • Committed to working toward expanding manufacturing for affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

On addressing famines, the ministers:

  • Agreed to provide £5.0 billion (US$6.7 billion) in humanitarian assistance to those countries facing famine, including Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria; and
  • Committed their support for the World Bank and UN on preparedness and early action to prevent famines.

On addressing the climate crisis, the ministers:

  • Agreed to do more to help low-income countries build resilience to the impacts of climate change and improve planning and response to climate-related disasters; and
  • Welcomed the role of the private sector in supporting climate resilience.

These agreements came in addition to the ministers' commitments to enhance girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment.

Press release - UK government

Statement - European External Action Service

G7 foreign and development ministers' agenda focuses on gender equality through education, ending gender-based violence

The UK hosted a G7 meeting in London on May 4-5, 2021, that put women and girls at the center of the agenda with a focus on the three E’s: education, empowerment, and ending gender-based violence.

Foreign and development ministers from the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, and the UK, plus the EU) met for their first in-person meeting in two years. The foreign ministers from Australia, India, South Africa, South Korea, as well as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), were invited to some of the talks as guests.

The G7 foreign and development ministers agreed to a new goal of sending 40 million more girls from low-and middle-income countries to school over the next five years and helping 200 million more girls read by the age of 10. 

They also agreed to provide a US$15.0 billion two-year package to help women in low-income countries build resilient businesses and respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The funding will be provided through the 2X Challenge, a partnership between G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) that was originally launched in 2018. The 2X Challenge focuses on providing finance and support to female-owned and staffed businesses or to businesses that provide products or services that particularly benefit women.

The G7 ministers also called for women’s rights organizations at local, national, and international levels to be actively included in decision-making on the COVID-19 recovery, and the ministers committed to working to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence through increased support to programs aimed at addressing this issue.

Press release - UK government

News article - BCC

News article - The Guardian