Advocacy Update ~ June 8, 2020

June 08, 2020

Racism is a Global Health Issue 

Last week, GHC and other organizations across our network issued calls to action for our community, in light of recent violence. As public health professionals, we must use our voice to call out the disparities we see in the U.S. and around the world. Further, we must motivate ourselves and others to ensure just and inclusive action going forward. In our statement, we encourage each of us to stand in solidarity with other Americans and global champions focused on core social progress to push back against that which harms us all.  Please read and share our statement on the recent violence against Black Americans unfolding across America. We can only win this fight together. 

Congressional News

Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act of 2020 (S. 3829)

Recently, Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced S. 3829. The bill identifies a State Department coordinator for response and preparedness activities that relate to foreign assistance and diplomacy but draws clear lines around what the coordinator would oversee, protecting PEPFAR and non-infectious disease global health funding from the coordinator’s purview and inking the coordinator’s duties to the State Department’s specific roles within EO 13747, President Obama’s executive order on the Global Health Security Agenda. The bill also authorizes U.S. participation in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), though it would not designate CEPI as a public international organization, in order to streamline appropriations, as other bills have proposed. It also authorizes a new Trust Fund for Global Health Security to be housed within the World Bank for public and private investments in global health security, including infectious disease control, and pandemic preparedness and response in developing countries. The bill includes an authorization of $3 billion in appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2021 through FY25 for these activities. GHC has endorsed the bill.

Senate SFOPs Outside Written Testimony is due by COB on 6/8/20. Instructions are linked here.

Administration News

President’s Response to Outbreaks (PRO)

Recently leaked information suggests that the Trump Administration is developing proposals to consolidate U.S. global health security activities under the leadership of the State Department through a new initiative, the President’s Response to Outbreaks (PRO). PRO consists of a whole-of-government unit overseen by the State Department Coordinator, called America’s Response to Outbreaks (ARO), which is modeled after PEPFAR. It is suspected that a total of $2.536 billion will be allocated for PRO, $946 million of which could be redirected or attributed from existing funds, and $1.59 billion in new appropriations. The second piece of PRO is a new Preparedness Initiative for Pandemics and Emergency Response (PIPER) which would be led by a central governing body of major public and private donors with the ARO coordinator serving as its U.S. representative, establishing at least three regional centers to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemics.

Multilateral News

WHO Foundation

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the creation of a foundation to broaden funding opportunities and to attract more sustainable and predictable funding. It will also simplify the process of accepting philanthropic contributions. The creation of this foundation is about greater flexibility for WHO. Only 20% of its budget comes from assessed contributions from member states, while 80% is earmarked for specific programs. The WHO Foundation will initially focus on emergencies and pandemic response.

Gavi Replenishment

The vaccine alliance secured $8.8 billion for 2021-25, surpassing their original target of $7.4 billion. Hosted by the U.K., the event saw donations from more than 32 donor governments and 12 foundations, corporations, and organizations to immunize 300 million children and support the global fight against COVID-19.

GHC Support for WHO

Immediately following President Trump’s announcement that his administration would cut ties with WHO, GHC issued a statement urging the President to reconsider. You can read our initial press release here. GHC and several of our partners are leading a community sign-on statement. If you or your organization would like to join the statement to show support for the World Health Organization, you can do so by completing this form.