Advocacy Updates ~ April 25, 2022
President Biden releases FY23 proposed budget
On April 28, President Biden released his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget. The proposed budget includes nearly $10.6 billion to support critical global health programs at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) but does not go nearly far enough to address the world’s most pressing health challenges. While the budget mostly flat funds many global health accounts, it proposes significant investments in global health security, including $6.5 billion in pandemic preparedness and biodefense. The budget also calls for the establishment of a financial intermediary fund for global health security and pandemic preparedness. Please find GHC’s official statement here. Other helpful documents include a fact sheet and the Congressional Budget Justification.
White House announces second global COVID summit
On April 18, the White House announced it will co-host the second Global COVID-19 Summit on May 12 with Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal. The first summit was hosted last September to generate global commitments to collectively vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build better health security. The second summit will build on these themes and place emphasis on locally-led solutions for immediate and long-term challenges.
Administrator Power urges Congress for additional global COVID-19 resources
On April 4, USAID Administrator Samantha Power released a statement urging Congress to commit additional resources to power the country’s global COVID-19 response. In her statement, Administrator Power highlights key issues such as the lowest-income countries having only achieved 15% vaccination coverage, with more than 30 countries still off-track to achieve their vaccine coverage targets this year. The funding originally requested in the administration’s $5 billion supplemental request would have allowed a significant expansion of the country’s Global VAX initiative to another 20 surge countries and provided support to other global COVID-19 response priorities. The lack of assistance in these areas would likely lead to the emergence of new variants that would affect lives globally, and therefore requires urgent attention.
April 27 @ 2:00 pm: Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the FY23 Budget Request for the Department of State (featuring Secretary of State Antony Blinken) – Link here
April 28 @ 10:00 am: House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the FY23 Budget Request for the Department of State (featuring Secretary of State Antony Blinken) – Link here
75th World Health Assembly to take place in May
The 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) is taking place May 22-28, 2022 and the 151st Executive Board meeting (EB151) on May 30, 2022. Please find the WHA75 provisional agenda here. Additional information and official documents will be published here as they become available.
In the lead-up to WHA75, the Working Group on Sustainable Financing (WGSF) will hold its seventh and final meeting on April 25-27. Last week, GHC joined forces with the United Nations Foundation and Pandemic Action Network to host a discussion with Björn Kümmel, Chair of the WGSF, as a way for civil society organizations to learn more about the group’s recommendations and current Member State negotiations ahead of WHA75. A recording of the conversation is available here (Passcode: 1&iEE8I*).
The Working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies (WGPR) also continues its work in the lead up to WHA75, with the possibility of the assembly considering amendments to strengthen the International Health Regulations (IHR). The next meeting of the WGPR will take place from May 4-6.
GHC reads statement at pandemic treaty public hearings
On April 12-13, the World Health Organization hosted public hearings to inform the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB)’s work to develop a new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response. GHC’s statement emphasized certain substantive elements that should be included in any new instrument, including that it should be holistic, equitable, with proper governance, accountability, and financing mechanisms.
G20 leaders agree to establish financing mechanism for pandemic preparedness
On April 20, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met for the second time under the Indonesia Presidency, at which global health was a central focus. To address the growing financing gap for pandemic preparedness, the G20 agreed to establish a new financial intermediary fund, housed at the World Bank. The Indonesian presidency will oversee discussions on governance and accountability of the new financing mechanism, with plans to have the new financing mechanism finalized before the G20 Health Ministerial level meeting in June.
$4.8 billion in commitments pledged at 2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit
On April 8, Gavi along with the governments of Ghana, Indonesia, Senegal, and Germany co-hosted the virtual 2022 Break COVID Now Summit to raise funds to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). At the summit, US$4.8 billion was secured from donors to support these efforts, including $1.7 billion in new pledges. The funding will be used to ensure COVID-19 doses can be shipped and administered, and will enable Gavi to launch a “Pandemic Vaccine Pool” to support future procurement of new COVID-19 vaccines for the AMC, if needed.
IMF releases Global Strategy to Manage the Long-Term Risks of COVID-19
Built on the foundation that COVID-19 will be lingering for the long-term, the new IMF strategy discusses potential scenarios of how this situation could evolve, and highlights four key policy implications that address both the uncertainty and the long-term risks of COVID-19. These include the need to achieve equitable access beyond vaccines, monitoring the evolving virus, transitioning from an acute response to a sustainable strategy, and creating a unified risk-mitigation approach to other future threats. Accordingly, it calls for additional funding amounting to $15 billion in grants this year, and $10 billion annually thereafter, to fight pandemics and strengthen health systems both domestically and overseas.
WHO releases Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan
The WHO’s Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan to End the Global COVID-19 Emergency in 2022 highlights key strategic adjustments that, if implemented, rapidly and consistently at national, regional, and global levels, will enable the world to end the acute phase of the pandemic. The strategy is built on core components including surveillance, laboratories and public health intelligence, research and development, vaccination, public health and social measures, and building resilient health systems – all of which contribute to both COVID-19 response coordination, as well as general pandemic preparedness.