Advocacy Updates ~ May 30, 2022

May 30, 2022

Administration News

U.S. co-hosts second Global COVID Summit

On May 12, the White House co-hosted the Second Global COVID-19 Summit alongside the governments of Belize, Germany, Senegal, and Indonesia. The summit garnered $3.2 billion in new financial commitments, including nearly $2.5 billion for COVID-19 and related response activities and $712 million in new commitments toward a new fund at the World Bank for global health security and pandemic preparedness. However, financial pledges fell short of the $15 billion that the World Health Organization says is needed this year for pandemic response. 

In advance of the summit, GHC committed to continued advocacy with U.S. congressional leaders to accelerate financing for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, as well as to continue to bolster commitments amongst stakeholders within multilateral organizations and ensure these bodies are sustainably-resourced and well-equipped to address the world’s most pressing health needs.

FY23 International Affairs Budget full Congressional Budget Justifications released

The full Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Congressional Budget Justification, which describes the funding that is required for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their missions worldwide, is now available. The President’s FY23 budget requested $60.4 billion for the State Department and USAID to advance peace and security and address global challenges. 

President Biden hosts initial meeting on global health workforce initiative

On May 11, the White House launched the Global Health Worker Initiative to protect health workers, expand the global health workforce, and accelerate economic development, advance equity and inclusion, and drive technological innovation. These investments will also build on the commitments made at the Second Global COVID-19 Summit to accelerate ending COVID-19 and advancing future pandemic preparedness.

President Biden requests supplemental funding for aid to Ukraine 

On April 28, President Biden sent a letter to the Speaker of the House requesting $33 billion in emergency supplemental funding to support Ukraine. The aid request will provide economic assistance to the Ukrainian government and support food, energy, and health care services for the Ukrainian people. GHC has also released a statement urging Congress to pass emergency supplemental funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises.  

President’s Malaria Initiative releases 16th annual report to Congress

On April 25, World Malaria Day, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) released its 16th annual report to Congress highlighting its work in FY21. Globally, PMI has helped to save more than 10.6 million lives and prevent more than 1.7 billion malaria infections since 2000.

White House to release global water security strategy

On June 1, the White House is expected to launch a global water security strategy at an in person event. GHC will share more details once more information is available. Prior to its launch, GHC participated in a meeting with National Security Council officials leading on the strategy’s development and provided input on the connection between water security and global health.

Congressional News

Senate votes to confirm Dr. John Nkengasong as Global AIDS Coordinator

On May 5, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Dr. John Nkengasong to serve as U.S. Ambassador at Large, Coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally. Dr. Nkengasong is the first person of African origin to take on this role, which works to accelerate progress toward achieving HIV/AIDS epidemic control. He currently serves as the first director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

House of Representatives passes Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act

On April 27, the House of Representatives passed the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 4693). The bill, first introduced on July 26, 2021, authorizes USAID to carry out activities to prevent and treat malnutrition globally. It also requires USAID to provide Congress with an implementation plan and annual reports concerning its programs for treating and preventing malnutrition.

Multilateral News

75th World Health Assembly 

The 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) took place on May 22-28, 2022, and the 151st Executive Board meeting (EB151) on May 30, 2022. Please find more information about GHC’s presence in Geneva here. Important outcomes from the Health Assembly include the endorsement from Member States on the recommendations from the Working Group on Sustainable Financing (WGSF) to increase annual assessed contributions to cover 50% of its core budget needs by the 2030-2031 biennium or sooner. The Health Assembly also noted the report of the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies (WGPR), which will continue in a more narrow focus on strengthening of the International Health Regulations. The Health Assembly also passed a resolution on human resources for health, as well as a global health and care worker compact. GHC developed and read statements on sustainable financing, strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies, and immunization and infection prevention and control, including a constituency statement on strengthening human resources for health. At the Executive Board meeting following the Health Assembly, members of the Board agreed to establish a Standing Committee on Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response to speed its response to health emergencies.

WTO releases draft proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine IP rights

A draft COVID-19 patent waiver text to temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) rights for COVID vaccine-related patented technologies was officially sent to the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. The proposed waiver, which is known as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, will potentially allow poorer countries to access key COVID-19 vaccine technology. Deputy United States Trade Representative María Pagán released a statement following the COVID-19 response outcome document expressing her support in engaging with other members of Congress, stakeholders, and other WTO members in considering the text released by the WTO Director-General.

ACT-A releases two-year impact report

The WHO released a two-year impact report for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), a unique partnership of governments, global health agencies, civil society, and industry working together to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

The report outlines the achievements, impact, case studies, and timelines of the key milestones for the Diagnostics, Therapeutics, and Vaccines pillars of the partnership, as well as the Health Systems and Response Connector. Highlighting the fact that COVID-19 can only be downgraded as a global threat once robust testing systems and equitable access to vaccines and treatment are achieved, the report also discusses the partnership’s ongoing priorities in the area of securing financing, ensuring access to scarce tools, scaling up delivery and uptake in countries, and informing deliberations on the future global health security architecture.