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Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers, Rome, 5-6 September 2021

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  1. We, the G20 Health Ministers, met in Rome, Italy, on 5 and 6 September, to promote strong multilateral cooperation, including towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting recovery, and to continue contributing with our joint efforts to better prevent, detect and respond to global health risks and emergencies.

  2. Building on the Rome Declaration’s (Global Health Summit, 21 May 2021) spirit and voluntary principles, we reaffirm our commitment to global solidarity, equity, and a multilateral approach; to effective governance, including by supporting the leading and coordinating role of WHO in the COVID-19 response and the broader global health agenda; to put people at the center of preparedness and to strengthen our collective preparedness to prevent, detect, report, and respond to health emergencies and notably promoting resilience of health systems and communities; to create trust by exchanging reliable information, data and scientific knowledge in a timely manner to develop science- and evidence-informed policies, measures and tools; and to sustain financial support and economic recovery in order to achieve full implementation of the 2019 Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Ensuring a comprehensive, timely and robust international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that includes transitioning investments and lessons learned into long-term capacity, is key for a strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery, building up resilience to future health shocks to health systems and addressing people’s needs by focusing on the three broad, interconnected pillars of action of the 2021 G20 Italian Presidency: People, Planet and Prosperity.

  3. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have profound impacts on human health worldwide, causing a severe death toll, and has revealed weaknesses in health systems and services, information and education. It has disrupted peoples’ livelihoods, increased food insecurity and malnutrition, shaken our economies, hampered international travel and trade, and exacerbated existing inequalities and inequities among and within countries, driving increased levels of poverty, hunger, morbidity and mortality. The pandemic is affecting mental health and well-being, due to isolation, rising unemployment, food insecurity, increased violence against women and girls and constrained access to education as well as health services including sexual and reproductive health. The pandemic and its socioeconomic consequences have a disproportionately heavy impact on women and girls, older persons, persons with disabilities, young people, children, as well as the poorest and most vulnerable.

  4. The pandemic has triggered major risks to the achievement of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We consider progress towards the SDG achievement an important benchmark as we look to shape a more inclusive, gender-sensitive response for a resilient and sustainable future, in which communities in situations of vulnerability should be empowered to overcome the long-term negative impacts of this pandemic and of similar effects from future pandemics.

  5. We call for continuity of concerted action towards a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response through good governance of health systems and immediate and medium-to-long term multi-sectoral actions on the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, in every country, to strengthen prevention, detection, preparedness and response capacities, through a health-in-all policies approach. Urgent coordination is needed to strengthen health systems, foster social well-being and community trust by implementing high-impact policies to protect people’s health by working across all sectors for a "transformative resilience" approach. Principles of sustainability, inclusiveness, holistic vision, transparency, accountability, foresight and equality and equity must be at the center of a governance transformation of health. Within this context, linkages between human and animal health, the effects across One Health related to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), food systems, and environmental health, including climate change, ecosystem degradation, increased encroachment into natural systems and loss of biodiversity should be addressed through the One Health approach, leveraging and relying upon the technical leadership and coordinating role of the WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP. The COVID-19 response and recovery efforts offer an opportunity to move in this direction, in order to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

  6. We intend to reinforce the global health architecture and governance based on a shared vision aiming at addressing challenges and at strengthening health systems and partnership for global health emergencies preparedness and response capacities, emphasizing the leading and coordinating role of the WHO on international health work in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders. We note the discussions in the context of the ongoing WHO Member States process to discuss strengthening health emergencies preparedness and response, and a possible international instrument or agreement. We look forward to the findings and proposals of the Special Session of the World Health Assembly in November 2021. WHO should be adequately, sustainably and predictable funded by its Member States to fulfil its mandate and live up to their expectations towards the WHO. This also applies to all other donors that contribute to WHO funding. We support science-based, inclusive of broad expertise, transparent, and timely processes, free from politicization or interference, to strengthen international capabilities to better understand the emergence of novel pathogens and to help prevent future pandemics. We aim to reduce disparities in health, commit to achieving progress on SDGs following equity-based and people-centered approaches to health systems. We will foster innovative gender-responsive approaches using digital technologies and other innovations, in a way that protects personal health data, to improve access, monitoring and real-time support, and to provide better quality, more personalized, and specialized health services to promote prevention and able to diagnose and treat patients accurately and in a timely manner, as diagnosis is one of the cornerstones of providing safe, efficient, and effective care.

  7. As our Leaders committed to in Riyadh, and reinforced at the Global Health Summit in Rome, we will work towards enhancing timely, equitable and global access to safe, affordable and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTDs). In line with the WHO, we support the goal to vaccinate at least 40% by the end of 2021 of the global population. We reaffirm our Leaders’ commitment at the Global Health Summit to strengthen local and regional manufacturing capacity, develop regional regulatory capacity and promote minimum standards for medical products quality. We support collaborative efforts in this respect, especially the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and its COVAX Facility, including strengthening the Health Systems Connector and other relevant initiatives, and call on partners to support closing the ACT-A funding gap, in order to help it fulfil its mandate and potentially extend this mandate into 2022. We need to also share more doses to meet the immediate need for safe, effective and quality and affordable vaccines building upon the commitments made at the COVAX AMC Summit. The COVID19 pandemic and the threat of rapid spread of communicable diseases must unite countries in urgent, transformative and collaborative action for rapid research, development, evaluation, production and equitable distribution of VTDs and pandemic-related products, such as personal protective equipment. We need to continue supporting the work of key partners such as WHO, Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool to facilitate voluntary technology transfers on mutually agreed terms, market shaping and increase local production capacities worldwide and important global research and innovation initiatives such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the “Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R)”. We welcome development of sustainable and transparent mechanisms, critical to promote rapid and equitable distribution wide accessibility and affordability and effective use of these essential resources.

  8. We identified key actions by focusing on the following four priority areas: healthy and sustainable recovery; building One Health resilience; coordinated and collaborative response; and accessible vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.