Advocacy Updates ~ April 28, 2021

Administration News

Biden administration releases preview of FY22 budget request

On April 9, the Biden Administration released a preview of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 discretionary budget request–the traditional first step in the budget process that enables lawmakers to begin drafting their annual appropriations bills. The discretionary budget includes a historic increase of the International Affairs budget at $63.5 billion, signaling a strong shift in policy that recognizes the importance of investing in and building strong, equitable, and resilient health systems worldwide. But, additional funding and U.S. leadership is needed to address COVID-19 and protect U.S. investments in global health. 

GHC has worked with a range of global health stakeholders to draft a community response urgently asking the Biden Administration to ensure the FY22 Discretionary Budget includes additional increases to global health programs to begin to meet the significant rise in health needs in the wake of COVID-19. To sign on to this letter, please fill out this form by Thursday, April 29 at 5pm ET.

President Biden will deliver a Joint Address to Congress tonight at 9pm ET. Tune into the livestream here.

U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative celebrates 15 years of impact

June 30, 2020 marked the fifteen year anniversary of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), kicking off a year-long celebration of PMI’s role in the fight against malaria. In the last fifteen years, thanks to PMI, more than one billion people had a mosquito net to sleep under. Read more about PMI’s impact in its 2021 annual report to Congress.

Samantha Power confirmed to lead USAID

On April 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by a roll call vote of 67-28. Power formerly served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN) during the Obama Administration.

GAO releases new report on global health security

On April 14, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on global health security funding and an assessment of countries’ capacities to address infectious disease threats prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report states that in the five years leading up to COVID-19, USAID and CDC invested about $1 billion in over 30 countries, including Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) partner countries, to build capacity to handle infectious diseases.

VP Harris urges bold action on pandemic preparedness at UN dialogue

On March 26, Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield addressed UN representatives and other stakeholders urging bold action on pandemic preparedness and response. VP Harris highlighted the need to create a global health security architecture that will strengthen health systems and make them more resilient. As a first step, she called for establishing sustainable financing for global health security. Watch VP Harris’ remarks here.

Congressional News

SFRC passes Strategic Competition Act, outlining U.S. engagement with China

On April 21, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Strategic Competition Act of 2021 out of committee by a vote of 21-1. The Strategic Competition Act is a bipartisan effort, led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), to lay out a strategic plan for the U.S. engagement with China. GHC is in discussion with our members and others across the international development and AAPI communities around concerns of the bill’s messaging. If you or your organization is interested in engaging in these discussions, please email advoacy@globalhealth.org

HHS Secretary commits to strengthening global health security in FY22 appropriations hearing

On April 15, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. In his written testimony, Secretary Becerra states CDC will not only address pandemic preparedness in the U.S. but will invest in and strengthen global health security to fight threats at home and abroad.

International News

WHO convenes virtual meeting with NSAs ahead of 74th World Health Assembly

From April 20-22, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a series of sessions with non-state actors (NSA), Member States, and the WHO secretariat to engage civil society organizations and others in official relations with the WHO ahead of the 74th Session of the World Health Assembly taking place from May 24-June 1. The agenda was organized along the three pillars of WHO’s thirteenth general programme of work:

  1. One billion more people to benefit from universal health coverage
  2. One billion more people better protected from health emergencies
  3. One billion more people enjoying better health and well-being

Following a session with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, he requested continued engagement between the secretariat and NSAs on three key items: vaccine equity, the proposed international pandemic treaty, and health workforce. Per the request of Member States and the decision at the most recent Executive Board session, the WHO Secretariat will be trialing “constituency statements” for a few select agenda items. Please stay tuned for more information from us on how to engage in drafting of GHC’s WHA statements, including our participation in some of the broader constituency statements for this year’s Assembly.

GHC will once again be bringing a delegation of our members to participate in the virtual WHA74. Please fill out this form by 5pm ET on Tuesday, May 4 if you are interested in participating in our delegation this year.

GHC participates in virtual G7 civil society summit

From April 19-20, GHC participated in the C7 Summit, an opportunity for civil society from the G7 and beyond to come together and inform the upcoming G7 Leaders’ Summit. Civil society recommendations for the G7 cover a range of topics, including calls for global sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic and a just and equitable approach to sharing vaccinations for COVID-19.

European Commission and G20 host civil society consultation ahead of Global Health Summit

Ahead of the Global Health Summit in May, the European Commission and the G20 hosted a consultation with members of civil society focused on global health security and pandemic preparedness. 

Gavi & U.S. host COVAX AMC investment opportunity

World leaders came together on April 15 at the One World Protected event, co-hosted by the U.S. and Gavi, to launch a campaign to raise $2 billion for the global fight against COVID-19. The campaign supports the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which aims to secure COVID-19 vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. At the event, donor governments announced new commitments for the AMC totaling approximately $400 million. This campaign will culminate in the June 2021 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit hosted by Japan.

WHO releases new report to mark the one-year anniversary of ACT-Accelerator

April 23, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator, a partnership to accelerate scientific advances for COVID-19. To mark the occasion, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros announced the release of the ACT now, ACT together 2020-2021 Impact Report which highlights the progress the partnership has made to develop and deliver tests, treatments, and vaccines needed to fight COVID-19 and calls out the $19 billion funding gap for 2021.

COVAX reaches over 100 economies after first international delivery

The COVAX facility has now delivered COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first delivery to Ghana in February. COVAX has delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents and aims to supply vaccines to all participating economies that have requested doses in the first half of 2021.

WHO, Gavi, UNICEF launch Immunization Agenda 2030

On March 26, WHO, Gavi, Unicef and other partners launched the Immunization Agenda 2030, a new strategy to strengthen immunization systems and maximize the lifesaving impact of vaccines. This new strategy aims to save over 50 million lives through vaccination, 75% in low- and lower-middle income countries.

UNFPA launches 2021 State of the World Population Report

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has launched its 2021 State of the World Population Report, which details the value of woman’s ability to make her own decisions about her health and well-being.

UN to host High-Level Dialogue on tackling AMR

On April 29, the UN will host a High-Level Interactive Dialogue on tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This dialogue aims to strengthen political commitments, take stock of progress, recommit to actions and build back better from COVID-19.

WHO Antibacterial Pipeline report headlines the world needs new antibiotic treatments

WHO released its annual Antibacterial Pipeline Report, which highlights a global shortage of innovative antibiotics and the urgent threat of antibiotic resistance. The report concludes that “overall, the clinical pipeline and recently approved antibiotics are insufficient to tackle the challenge of increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.”

WHO launches initiative to stamp out malaria in 25 more countries by 2025 and progress report

Ahead of World Malaria Day, the WHO launched a new initiative aimed at halting transmission of malaria in 25 more countries by 2025. WHO also published a new report highlighting successes and lessons learned among the “E-2020” group of malaria-eliminating countries. According to the report, eight countries reported zero indigenous cases of human malaria in 2020.

UNAIDS adopts new strategy to end AIDS by 2030

The UNAIDS board has adopted a new strategy which aims to end AIDS as a public health threat in every country by 2030 by setting new targets and policies to be reached by 2025 to accelerate momentum and political will around ending AIDS.

UN Secretary General releases progress report ahead of High-Level Meeting

Ahead of the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS on June 8-10, the UN Secretary-General released a new report on progress made to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. This report will inform the Political Declaration being negotiated for the outcome of the High-Level Meeting.

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