Germany Brings Health Issues To G20; First Health Ministers Meeting In May 13/04/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Global health matters are entering into the Group of Twenty (G20) agenda under the German presidency of the group, which started in December 2016. The first-ever G20 Health Ministers’ meeting is scheduled to take place in May, before the regular G20 meeting in July. This week, a professor from the Graduate Institute of Geneva explained how health has become part of the G20 agenda. Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre and adjunct professor, Interdisciplinary Programmes at the Graduate Institute, spoke at an 11 April lunch briefing about the new interest of the G20 in health matters. The G20 is composed of 19 countries plus the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. According to Kickbusch, Germany put health on the G20 agenda. She noted the G20 action plan [pdf] on the United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which was issued at the G20 2016 meeting in China. The plan states that the G20 recognises health as a necessary component for socioeconomic stability and a key aspect of sustainable development. The action plan further states that the G20 “commits to support international efforts, including those of the WHO [World Health Organization], to manage health risks and crisis in a comprehensive way, from preparedness and early identification of disease risks to effective response and recovery efforts in the context of the International Health Regulations (IHR).” The G20 action plan underlines its intent to continue to support international efforts to strengthen sustainable and innovative financing of the global and national health systems. Kickbusch mentioned the new G20 health working group, whose first meeting took place in Berlin from 28 February to 2 March 2017. According to the G20 webpage, “The meeting of health experts constitutes another milestone and innovation, highlighting the importance of health issues in the G20 context. Already at the International German Forum 2017 one week prior to the meeting, the Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel emphasized the health priority of the German Presidency and identified global health as the foundation for economic success and a key issue for the G20.” The first-ever G20 Health Ministers’ meeting is expected to take place on 19-20 May in Berlin, she said. According to the G20 website, the working group is expected to prepare a joint declaration by the health ministers, due to be adopted in Berlin on 20 May. Main issues are antimicrobial resistance, the strengthening of health care systems, and global health crisis management. The G20 summit will take place on 7-8 July in Hamburg. According to the G20 website, the G20 meetings at the level of heads of state and government owe their existence to the 2008 financial crisis. “Since then, the G20 leaders have met regularly, and the G20 has become the central forum for international economic cooperation,” it says. Kickbusch said global health in the G20, beyond the engagement of Germany, is the result of a growing interest of G20 countries in the relevance of health issues for their economies. This is because of the pressure related to costs of health systems, but also “tremendous opportunities.” She cited as an example the “Healthy China 2030” plan, which foresees substantial growth of the health system and health industry. According to the WHO, Healthy China 2030 will draw on the strength of China’s health science and technology innovation. In terms of the global agenda of the G20, Kickbusch said the focus on health is linked to global health security threats, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but health is also one of the largest and most rapidly growing global markets, which is not “as regulated as it probably should be.” The G20 can create incentives for solutions for collective actions, she said, because it brings together the most powerful nations of the world. On a practical level, she added, one of the key questions is what will happen after this year, in particular on the issue of the implementation of the IHR for developing countries. Answering a question about the best outcome for health of the G20, Kickbusch said on a declaration level it would be a strong commitment for the SDGs and universal coverage. On a practical level, she added, it would be desirable that the action plan that might emerge actually commits to financing the establishment of IHR capacities in developing countries. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Germany Brings Health Issues To G20; First Health Ministers Meeting In May" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.