The second Global COVID-19 Summit to Tackle Future Pandemics was convened yesterday, May 12, 2022, with the aim of garnering political and financial commitments from countries to end the current pandemic and be better prepared to respond to pandemic threats in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 6.2 million lives since December 2019 and continues to have a huge impact on the global economy and health systems across the world. The pandemic has caused unimaginable disruptions to all sectors and continues to consume considerable resources in the ongoing response to the crisis. This is exacerbated by the emergence of new variants of the virus, leading to new waves of infection. As highlighted by many leaders across the world, this protracted crisis proves that such health crises cannot be addressed in a siloed manner and requires a unified, comprehensive, and coordinated approach.
From the first to the second Global Summit on COVID-19
On September 2021, the first global COVID-19 summit was held with the main goal of ending the pandemic and building better global health security to prevent and prepare for future public health threats. The first summit laid ambitious targets in three areas ranging from Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives, and Building Back Better. More than 100 leaders representing governments, international organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, civil society, academia, and other stakeholders took part in this first summit.
One of the goals of the first summit was to hold each other accountable and foster global commitments to end the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, global health and government leaders came together yesterday for the second Global COVID-19 summit to evaluate the milestones achieved and garner new commitments to advance initiatives to end the pandemic and be better prepared to detect, respond to, and prevent the next pandemic. Compared to 4.5 million lives lost at the time when the first summit was held, the current death toll from COVID-19 yields almost 2 million additional deaths in less than one year. During the second summit, world leaders aimed to redouble their firsts efforts and refocus their actions.
Key Summit Objectives
The summit was co-hosted by five countries including the United States (First COVID-19 Summit Chair), Belize, (CARICOM Chair); Germany (holding the G7 Presidency); Indonesia, (holding the G20 Presidency); and Senegal (African Union Chair). The summit focused on 4 four key objectives all aimed towards ending the pandemic as soon as possible.
- Recommitting Intensity to Global Response — Global leaders aimed to reassert their commitment to the global response to the virus by focusing on securing new funding and policy commitments to control COVID-19 in 2022.
- Vaccinating the World — As of now, vaccination remains the most important lifesaving tool in this pandemic. It is also the most effective means to fight emerging variants.
- Protecting the Most Vulnerable — Leaders also pledged to vaccines, tests, and treatments acquisition for the most vulnerable such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and frontline and health workers.
- Preventing Future Catastrophes — By investing now to secure political commitment for pandemic preparedness globally. The Summit focused on expanding and financing country capacity, health workers, disease surveillance, and medical countermeasures, including through the new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank.
Main commitments from participating countries
All leaders at the summit sounded one after the other that no one country or entity could end COVID-19 alone and that all stakeholders needed to come together in a collaborative manner to achieve a timely elimination of COVID-19. Strong political and financial commitments were made by country leaders from across the globe. New financial commitments from governments totaled over $1 billion USD. Commitments were also made by the private sector, philanthropists, and non-governmental organizations yielding a total in new commitments of $ 3.2 billion USD.
Several countries made significant pledges to support each of the key objectives that the summit targeted. A detailed list of commitments can be found here. While many pledges were directed towards the donation, production, distribution, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, all leaders agreed that the world should be prepared to work together to prevent and respond to the next global crisis by enhancing initiatives to advance global health security.
All leaders agreed that the world should be prepared to work together to prevent and respond to the next global crisis by enhancing initiatives to advance global health security.
A new pandemic and security fund to prepare and respond to the next global crises
What we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we were collectively ill-prepared to confront it. Leaders agreed that we need to learn from the current pandemic so we can rapidly address and end it. At the same time, we need to focus on how to better prepare for the next one which will ultimately occur. It is not a question of whether there will be another pandemic; it is a question of when it will be, and whether we will be prepared for it when it happens.
With both the current crisis the threat of a potential future one in mind, global leaders have taken bold steps to create a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund hosted at the World Bank. The mechanism of funding, replenishing, and disbursing the funds will be unveiled later this summer by the World Bank.
FHI 360 applauds the strong engagement of world leaders to tackle pandemics current or future by pledging to support immunization and building global health capacity across the globe. We have strong faith and confidence that by working together, countries, scientists, public health professionals, donors, the private sector, and society at large will win the fight against infectious disease threats.