Closing address to the Global Health Summit
Venerdì, 21 Maggio 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased with the results that we have achieved today.
This summit has been a timely reminder of the power of multilateral cooperation. And the reason why I am saying this, is that we have an important declaration about which I will say a few some words later. But this declaration made of principles, commitments, promises is also accompanied by some real, concrete action immediately.
And so, I just want to thank the countries that pledged so much in vaccines and in financing.
I want to thank the private companies that also pledged significant, I would say staggering amount of vaccines and the multilateral institutions. For all these pledges, that surely are going to change the landscape immediately, I should thank especially Ursula, because she has been the main driving force behind the pledges.
So, when we come to the declaration, one would say that this would serve as a solid base to strengthen our response to this emergency and future crises. What is it? it’s a set of principles that will ensure we are better prepared for a future pandemic.
- First, we must strengthen the role of multilateral institutions.
- We must provide the WHO with sustainable and predictable funding, and allow it to become more effective.
- As we have learned during this crisis, strong international guidance is crucial to ensure there is an effective early warning system in place and that governments can share quickly their best practices in preventing, containing and managing a pandemic.
However, I just want to make a point here, I think it has been briefly touched during our discussions, health policy is only one of the challenges facing rich and emerging countries today.
We must also address significant economic risks.
International financial institutions must provide the necessary support to low-income countries to ensure that this health crisis does not turn into a wave of sovereign debt crises.
In particular, we must now put the International Monetary Fund in the position to provide an effective shield for the world’s poorest countries.
The Rome Declaration rightly emphasises the importance of pursuing a One Health approach - and here I’m coming to climate -, to preserve human, animal and environmental safety.
This is the key priority of Italy’s G20 Presidency.
The Scientific Expert Panel has stated how most infectious diseases are caused by pathogens that are derived from animals.
Their emergence is largely driven by deforestation, wildlife exploitation, and other human activities.
Effective environmental action can help to defend animal welfare and ultimately mitigate the risk of new health threats.
When pursuing a common strategy to prevent future pandemics, we must uphold our commitment to limit environmental damage and tackle the climate crisis.
The Sustainable Development Goals offer a useful set of targets to achieve this overarching objective, starting with the COP26 conference, that - as I think I said before - we are co-chairing with the United Kingdom.
International cooperation should not be limited to the official sector.
Global trade is just as important and much has been said about this.
The pandemic has shown us how collaboration between companies is paramount to foster innovation and boost production of essential medical goods.
The Covid-19 vaccines are the product of complex supply chains, spanning across many countries, each one building upon its own industrial capacity and expertise.
The Rome Declaration rightly defends the role of the multilateral trading system and in particular the central role of the World Trade Organization.
We must keep trade flowing across borders and eliminate unjustified commercial barriers and blanket export bans.
This is essential if we are to react effectively to shocks.
Finally, the Declaration stresses the role of knowledge for overcoming the current and future health crises.
Scientific ingenuity has opened the path to exit this pandemic.
The first vaccine was submitted for approval nine months after the WHO declaration of the international emergency a that’s been a truly historical achievement.
We must continue to invest in our scientists and provide incentives to private companies to do the same.
Moreover, we must ensure that information is shared rapidly and openly, while preserving adequate protection for intellectual property.
International scientific cooperation has been one of the reasons behind the rapid development of existing Covid-19 vaccines.
We need better data sharing and know-how transfers to allow the widespread and equitable distribution of the fruits of innovation.
So, let me thank you again for a very successful summit.
The world is in a much safer place thanks to your valuable contributions.