Founded in 2008 by Ilona Kickbusch, a prominent public intellectual and global health expert, the Global Health Centre (GHC) focuses on research and analysis, strategic convening, and education. Over its first decade, the GHC has strengthened Geneva’s role as a capital of global health. In 2019, Ilona Kickbusch handed over leadership of the Centre to Vinh-Kim Nguyen, an emergency physician and medical anthropologist, and Suerie Moon, an internationally-recognised policy expert on global governance and health. Global health is currently at a crossroads, facing acute challenges from a shifting geopolitical order, weakened multilateralism, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as chronic challenges such as climate change, economic inequality, migration, and armed conflicts. The Centre aims to open global health to diverse voices, knowledge and ideas, and engage critically with issues of governance, politics and power. It offers a unique meeting place for scholars and practitioners in Geneva and far beyond.
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.
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.