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G7 Joint Statement - WHO Executive Board

International relations

Thank you Chair,

I speak on behalf of the delegations of the G7, Australia and the Republic of Korea. Thank you to the Chairs of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and the IHR Review Committee for their updates to the Board and their interim reports, although due to the timing of the papers being released it was not possible for us to make detailed remarks on them here.

The G7 greatly values WHO and the crucial leadership and coordination role it plays in global health and in steering the world's response to public health emergencies especially at this difficult time. We also recognise that there is need to strengthen and reform the WHO to ensure it remains fit for evolving challenges, including with the continued strong support and involvement of its member states and the international community. The global health architecture also needs to increase its focus on preparedness and response to health emergencies, as well as building more resilient, quality and inclusive health systems with a view to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). The G7 supports the decision on emergency response submitted by the EU.

We therefore welcome the work of the review committees with their mandates from member states and looks forward to their recommendations to the World Health Assembly in May which we need to be ambitious, grounded in robust evidence, and with clear prioritised areas for action.

Some of the issues that the review processes are examining have been discussed before including:

  • Improving IHR compliance through a stronger member state-led review process and monitoring framework alongside a more consistent evaluative system that can accurately assess national IHR capacities
  • Elaborating the process of independent epidemiological assessment on-site and prompt information sharing including samples of pathogens when outbreaks occur, especially in the initial phase in close collaboration with the relevant national government.
  • Fully integrating a One Health approach to better prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic health threats;
  • Greater clarification of roles and coordination among member states and the wide range of international organisations involved in a response to pandemics including in case of cross-border movement by sea or air; and
  • Finding sustainable financing approaches which allow for WHO to fulfil its core mandate within the global health architecture in an effective, efficient and strategic way.

Some changes do not have to wait for these reviews. There are areas that WHO already has started to work on or could advance in the shorter term. For instance –

  • Strengthening communication around the decisions of the emergency committees;
  • Setting up of the One Health High-Level Expert Council by WHO jointly with FAO, OIE and UNEP in coordination with relevant initiatives including the One Health Global Leaders Group in Antimicrobial Resistance;
  • Facilitating greater access to global public health intelligence to support countries and global organisations with timely and actionable intelligence;
  • Implementing the recommendations on management of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme as recommended by the IOAC;
  • Establishing the groundwork needed to fully implement an early warning or intermediate public health alert system as part of the PHEIC declaration process  based upon previous IHR review committee recommendations;
  • Enhancing WHO's normative role and guidance, on handling health emergencies, indirect health and socio-economic impacts and maintaining essential health services
  • Providing clearer and more updated guidance on travel and trade restrictions and their impact in order to avoid unnecessary harm to economies, working with other relevant international organisations; and
  • Improving member state engagement in public health emergencies, including by strengthening the role of the Executive Board.

We must use this existing momentum to make these urgently needed changes happen. We therefore have high expectations for these reviews and look forward to closely reviewing your recommendations.

And to WHO our message is that we stand ready to and work with you and other member states to strengthen emergencies response.

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