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Policy & Global Development

What Can We Expect From the G20 and EU Global Health Summit?

Series | COVID-19 & response strategy #34


[This document is a one of a series of discussion notes addressing fundamental questions about the COVID-19 crisis and response strategies. These documents are based on the best scientific information available and may be updated as new information comes to light.]

On 21 May will take place the Global Health Summit, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the Government of Italy, the current chair of the G20. The goal of the meeting is to develop and endorse a document of principles incorporating the main lessons learned from the current crisis, addressing the most urgent challenges posed by the pandemic, and laying the foundations for a system of preparedness and response in the face of future global health crises.

This ISGlobal discussion note proposes important areas for the objectives set by the Global Health Summit, identifies areas that are vital to the task of improving and strengthening global emerceny preparedness and response capacity, and addresses the funding question, one of the core issues in the current debate.

The success of this meeting will be a reliable indicator of what the international community has learned and its willingness to do things differently after the many crises triggered by the pandemic. The most urgent issues are the production and distribution of vaccines and other essential tools needed to combat SARS-CoV-2. 

The scale of the crisis in India is a dramatic reminder of the fact that we will sink or swim together, a principle that should inform any ethical and intelligent response to the pandemic. In the medium term, the world will have to deal with the repercussions of a prolonged period of economic inequality and a persistent health gap, which threaten the gains of over three decades of development and income convergence. It would be difficult to overstate the enormity of these challenges and the responsibility on the shoulders of the leaders of G20 countries, including Spain, who must tackle them.