Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Publications

The Think7 task forces will produce policy briefs on issues relevant to G7 policy-makers. On the basis of these policy briefs, one or two task force reports focusing on a limited number of key issues of relevance for the G7 process will be produced. This process is led by the Think7 co-chairs. The task force reports will provide a limited number of research-based policy recommendations for G7 policy-makers. The task force reports will be subject to an internal peer review process within each task force.

The finalized publications will be published below by summer 2022.

Issue Paper: G7 Measures to Enhance Global Health Equity and Security

Our world has changed drastically, and multilateral institutions and ways of working must also change. The G7 represents the world’s leading industrial countries. Its members want to be recognised for a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, economic prosperity, and working collectively to solve global problems. Even so, in 2022 the G7 stands at a crossroad. One path involves the G7 stepping up to provide leadership at a critical point in time and taking definitive action to tackle the challenges our international community confronts from an irrevocably altered geopolitical environment, a war in Europe, the certainty of future pandemics, and a shifting climate. The other path involves the G7 being increasingly sidelined, its legitimacy continually challenged, its multilateral efforts impeded, and growing skepticism about its members’ motivations and agendas.

To meet the global health challenges ahead, we propose the G7 resolutely pursues the first path, actively taking up its global responsibility through the development and adoption of a G7 Global Health Compact 2030 that proactively pursues a transformative agenda informed by democratic values, equity, inclusion, sustained investment, accountability and global solidarity structures. There is an urgent need for new measures, arrangements and approaches that will better prepare the world for the future. The G7 Global Health Compact 2030 must be embedded within an unwavering commitment to multilateralism, the SDGs, determined support to the World Health Organization, and swift, unified action, starting with the implementation of already agreed measures. The Compact must reaffirm global solidarity, increase credibility of the G7, and strengthen reciprocal trust. These measures are needed not only to deal with the global health challenges we face, but also to restore the multilateral system’s capacities to deliver.

This issue paper builds on the various proposals and discussions held between January and May 2022 as part of the T7 Taskforce on Global Health process. It is not a consensus document; but rather seeks to distill months of deliberations by expert groups into practical, policy-relevant strategic proposals (the T7 Global Health Taskforce Policy Briefs) for the G7. They are addressed to not only ministers of health – who we consider as the strongest advocates for the G7 Global Health Compact 2030 – but also ministers of foreign affairs, development, and finance, and of course, G7 Leaders. Prior to this document being finalised, a draft version was also shared with experts from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The feedback we received via a subsequent dialogue that was organised by Amref with over 160 LMIC participants has been incorporated into the final version of this paper, but the key message was the critical importance of ensuring the inclusion of voices of those with lived experiences in all national, regional and global health initiatives.

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Renewing the Global Health Architecture & Financing for the 21st Century

Some 75 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) was created to serve as the directing and coordinating authority in international health, the global health institutional architecture has become increasingly fragmented, confused, and inefficient. Many of the organisations, agencies and platforms have overlapping or closely aligned mandates, and operate in direct competition with each other for funding. COVID-19 has revealed many of the weaknesses of this system, but it also creates an opportunity to initiate once-in-a-generation reforms to consolidate and harmonise arrangements. Central to any reform efforts, however, must be a resolute, unwavering commitment to multilateralism, that is matched with practical, sensible measures to ensure a better prepared world for future health emergencies caused by pandemics, climate change, and biodiversity loss. The G7 as a group of democracies with strong historical ties to multilateralism must be at the forefront of such reforms and build inclusive alliances to uphold its values base.

A Package of Reforms for Financing Pandemic Preparedness and Response

COVID-19 has demonstrated how woefully unprepared the global health architecture is to manage a pandemic and shown the detrimental consequences of insufficient and fragmented financing for outbreak preparedness, prevention, and response (PPR). Swift action must be taken to accelerate global efforts to ensure adequate funding and governance for global health security, which has been under-resourced and under-prioritized. Building on the recommendations of the G20 High Level Independent Panel, we outline three policy recommendations for the G7 to act upon: (1) Reform and adequately finance WHO; (2) reform and replenish existing global health entities, including for the ongoing COVID-19 response; and (3) establish a pandemic preparedness financial intermediary fund (FIF). Above all, future financing for preparedness must have the mandate and flexibility to allocate across the system and a range of organizations to drive progress.

Investing in Preparedness and Public Health Infrastructures

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the pressure on our health systems, clearly revealing how much investment in resources and planning is still needed to develop health systems that are resilient, equitable, efficient, and sustainable. The pandemic highlights the necessity to allocate funds towards prevention, training, and communication activities: greater public attention towards health risks can help promote virtuous changes, including sharing contents and information that act as a guide for the population. This policy brief identifies five pillars on which governments should invest to increase the preparedness and sustainability of health systems. It describes actions that the G7 should take to support countries and ensure harmonized policies, coordination, and exchange of information to avoid repeating previous mistakes with future health threats.

G7: Data for Pandemic Preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of surveillance data in detecting and responding to an infectious disease event. Disease surveillance data is currently a mélange of types and sources, of differing validity and usefulness. Today, the primary source of surveillance data are healthcare providers, laboratories, and local health departments. However, relying on these sources alone can miss events in populations that may not be able to access quality healthcare. There are myriad proposals for using new technologies, but few that integrate critical humans who can interpret data and find the signal in the noise that requires action. There is no comprehensive structure for rapidly and equitably collecting and analyzing data needed to extract actionable insights that will inform decision-making to mount a robust response. But even more critical are many disincentives – economic and political – that prevent transparent sharing of essential data from traditional and nontraditional sources. It is vital that emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with outbreak and pandemic potential can be identified faster. Time matters. Delays lead to loss of lives as well as economical and societal disruption.

Ending vaccine inequity and injustice

Vaccine inequity has devastated millions of lives globally. It has not only impacted citizens of poorer countries who are unable to access vaccines but also people in more industrialised nations as access became stratified across race, income level and geographic location. Ultimately, the uneven rollout has affected the entire international community as variants continue to proliferate and raise the possibility of reduced vaccine efficacy against COVID-19. This inequity is a symptom of the larger malaise of uneven and skewed health systems, affecting economic development and, social stability. Thus, this moment is critical for both financial and moral reasons, providing the G7 with the opportunity to rethink and to act on equitable vaccine access and health priorities. This issue paper is set in the context that the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be waning (Murray, 2022) but there are stark warnings of increased occurrence and severity of pandemics in the future due to rapid and chaotic urbanisation, climate change and deforestation (Thoradeniya & Jayasinghe, 2021). It is therefore crucial that the next pandemic does not catch us unprepared as this one did, and we avert the tremendous toll on lives, livelihoods and societies. A vaccine delayed is a vaccine denied. The present injustice and vague promises should be replaced by genuine action to save lives—all lives. The c urrent course of action will not contain transmission of the virus and we need continued joint collaborations and initiatives if we are to progress towards an equitable world.

Human Resources for Health in a Globalized world

Building resilient health systems starts with human resources for health. The demand for health workers is rapidly growing with increased income, the increasing pace of medical advances and with the urgent need to correct severe imbalances between and within countries in the availability of health care workforce. Yet, supply does not match demand in an increasingly globalized health labour market. The global shortage fuels the global mobility of health professionals. The G7 and the international community must address the challenges of expanding labor supply as well as financing and regulating health labor markets.

Universal Health Coverage and Global Public Goods Financing: How can the G7 fulfil its Universal Health Commitments in the Aftermath of COVID-19?

All world leaders are committed to the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – whereby everyone should receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship – yet the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined progress towards UHC in almost all countries. COVID has exposed insufficient investments in public health and key population groups have been left behind in many national responses. While global scientific solidarity and collaboration to tackle the pandemic has been impressive, the task of ensuring sufficient production and equitable allocation of the resulting technologies has clearly failed. At its 2021 summit, the G7 failed to address vaccine inequity, resulting in some experts calling for the summit to be its last. It is vital that in 2022 the G7 put global health at the top of its agenda and act across a number of priorities to ensure it fulfils its universal health commitments.

Why and how the G7 can respond to the public health crisis of drug-resistant infections

The unchecked growth of drug-resistant infections – which are increasingly hard to treat – is a silent pandemic with long-term consequences for global public health and the global economy. According to recently released data published in the Lancet, at least 1.27 million people died of drug resistant infections in 2019. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) also threatens the viability of surgical and curative medical interventions, such as chemotherapy. It is no longer a threat with future consequences, but a complex existential emergency of infections by multiple microbes. Many countries lack access to existing antibiotics, while in other countries rising rates of resistance require new treatments that have not yet been developed. Drug-resistant infections are a long-term challenge for which governments, including through G7 leadership, as well as the private sector, and civil society, must construct a durable infrastructure to prepare and respond. One pressing concern is for this infrastructure to ensure sustained research and development of novel antibiotics that address priority infections, and responsible access to novel and existing antibiotics to save lives and assure the long-term viability of such critical countermeasures.

Democracy, Global Health, and the Group of 7

COVID-19 produced a health crisis and exacerbated a democracy crisis. Members of the Group of 7 and other democracies were unprepared for the pandemic, and many responded poorly to it. Nearly twenty years of G7 global health leadership did not prevent G7 members from contributing to multilateralism’s failure during COVID-19. The pandemic also made the global decline in democracy worse. COVID-19 has raised questions about the relationship between democracy and health with which the G7 has not grappled. The G7 must do so now because democracy’s credibility on global health is badly damaged. The way forward includes fulfilling existing COVID-19 commitments made by G7 members, critically evaluating the COVID-19 responses of G7 nations, creating G7 ministerial and engagement groups on democracy, and identifying how to use development assistance for health to defend and advance democracy.