Advocacy Update

June 27, 2024

As mentioned above, the FY25 House SFOPS bill is cause for alarm for the global health community. The proposed budget includes cuts to PEPFAR, the Global Fund (although this reduction was expected), and family planning and reproductive health. The bill doesn’t allocate specific funding for global health security and prohibits funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund, and other UN agencies. It also proposes codification and expansion of the “Global Gag Rule,” which prohibits U.S. funds from being used to perform, provide counseling, refer, or advocate for safe abortions.

In response to these proposed cuts to global health and the SFOPS topline, the GHC community came together to draft a sign-on letter, with 60+ organizations adding their names. This letter helped inform House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) press release, issued ahead of the floor vote on the bill. She then referenced the letter during the floor debate on June 26 and included it in a submission for the Congressional record.

As budget discussions continue, it will be critical to ensure decision-makers understand that any funding for SFOPS and global health in FY25 must be additive to the enacted FY24 levels.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), charged with negotiating a pandemic agreement among WHO Member States, will convene for its 10th meeting on July 16–17 to discuss the new modalities for negotiating the pandemic agreement. As a non-state actor (NSA) in official relations with WHO, GHC has been involved in, and expects to continue to be involved in, pandemic agreement negotiations. We will be tracking this meeting and advocating for U.S. and other negotiators to include civil society as much as possible in future negotiations. We will also provide updates as this process continues.

In June, leaders of the G7 countries, as well as the president of the European Council and the president of the European Commission representing the European Union, convened in Italy to address current global challenges. The outcome document, or Leaders’ Communiqué, covered many different health areas, including:

  • Promoting a One Health approach
  • Bolstering prevention and health systems
  • Further contributing to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
  • Promoting equitable access to quality health services and essential medical countermeasures (MCMs)
  • Recommitting to ending HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and polio by 2030
  • Addressing the impact of climate change on health
  • Supporting an ambitious outcome at the High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance at UNGA

In a related but separate area, the meeting called for establishing a G7 Water Coalition to coordinate action on water-related issues and recognize the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene to sustainable development.

The 14th Global Program of Work (GPW 14) was just published by the WHO, setting the roadmap that will guide the organization’s work between 2025–2028. For the first time, WHO allowed for civil society feedback and comments on the draft plan. While we did not secure everything that was asked for, there were key successes. In particular, the community advocating for people living with disabilities was highly effective in securing multiple references to disability and/or the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) in the document that were not previously included.

Now, our efforts turn to advocating with governments to finance and implement the work plan. We are calling for governments to make appropriate investments so the advancements in health equities included in GPW 14 become a reality.