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Vital Strategies applauds first inclusion of health and climate at Hamburg G20 meeting

Vital Strategies applauds the inclusion of global health and climate change in the agenda of the G20 Summit. The meeting, which commenced today in Hamburg, Germany, gathers together heads of state from G20 countries and others, and leaders from global institutions such as World Bank, the U.N. and World Health Organization.

In the lead up to the meeting,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel held dialog forums to gain input from non-governmental organizations (Civil20) and the scientific and research community (Science20), among others. In fact, this is the first time the science and research community has been included in the G20 process – a welcome recognition of the connection between science and economic development, and the need for policy to be informed by strong scientific evidence.

The Science20 Forum used this opportunity to focus on health, with an event entitled Improving Global Health: Strategies and Tools to Combat Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases. The S20’s three main recommendations were presented to Chancellor Merkel by the presidents of science academies of the G20 countries. They included providing reliable and resilient health systems; addressing the social, environmental and economic determinants of health; and the implementation of strategic instruments to undertake activities like improving access to quality vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices and therapeutic drugs at affordable prices.

The C20 Summit, similarly, held an event attended by Chancellor Merkel, and presented a paper of recommendations for the G20 meeting. These included urgent action on antimicrobial resistance, better financing for and collaboration with WHO, and work to improve the effectiveness of global responses to pandemic emergencies and deliver universal health coverage. The paper also noted the importance of strong public health education and systems to goals like gender equality, and the need to deliver safe water supplies and sanitation, food security, and sustainable energy and climate change, which also impact health.

It has never been more clear that healthy populations are essential to economic development. We hope that the C20 and S20’s strong emphasis on concrete actions to meet the challenges of global health is reflected in the discussions at the G20 meeting, and more importantly in the commitments made by attending governments and institutions.