Rome, October 26th 2021 – On Friday 29 October 2021, G20 Finance and Health Ministers will gather in Rome for their first joint meeting under the Italian G20 Presidency. The meeting will be co-chaired by Daniele Franco, Italian Minister for Economy and Finance and Roberto Speranza, Italian Minister of Health.
The meeting will be held on the eve of the G20 Leaders’ Summit taking place in Rome on 30 and 31 October 2021.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in February 2020, the G20 Finance Track worked hard to find solutions to tackle the pandemic, support the most affected groups of the society and foster a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery. Initiatives spanned from the endorsement of the G20 Action Plan to support global economies navigate through the crisis and the support to the most vulnerable countries via the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the new International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation, to the efforts to kick start the economic recovery by boosting productivity with investments geared towards a green and digital transition, and the historic agreement for the establishment of fairer international tax system. More details on the milestones achieved by the G20 Finance Track under the Italian G20 Presidency can be found in the Communiqué of the 13 October’s fourth G20 Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors meeting.
Looking forward, the international community is called upon to cope with what many experts have defined an era of pandemics, and to find solutions designed to mitigate the impact that a new health crisis may generate, both in terms of human lives and consequent economic and social costs. The impact of the crisis will weigh on our societies in the long term, especially in the absence of mechanisms to ensure global health security.
The G20 is aware that, without an adequate financing system, it will be impossible to develop a coordinated global approach to managing future epidemics. In this sense, in January 2021, the G20 established a High Level Independent Panel on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response. In July 2021, the Panel, co-chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Finance of Singapore, and Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, issued a report calling on the international community to act quickly to address current gaps in the international response to the pandemic. The Panel suggested to strengthen global governance mechanisms to increase international public funding.
While the G20 have recognized the role of COVID-19 immunization as a global public good, in 2021, discussions on health issues had two key moments. On 21 May, the Global Health Summit organized by the Italian G20 Presidency, in partnership with the European Commission, reaffirmed that the pandemic will not be over until all countries are able to bring the disease under control. G20 Leaders agreed on the Rome Declaration, which sets out principles and guiding commitments for future actions for global health to support the financing, building, and sustaining of effective health system capabilities and capacities. Secondly, on 5 and 6 September, G20 Health Ministers met in Rome to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, international collaboration to prevent and respond to future pandemics, and control mechanisms to effectively counteract pandemics. A Final Declaration was adopted at the end of their meeting.
The crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike any other the world has experienced. The pandemic has clearly shown how flawed global health governance system is, and how it was ill-equipped to effectively collect and distribute resources in a more equitable way.
The rapid development of new vaccines has demonstrated that the world has the science and the resources to deal with pandemics, but these must be organized in a more structured and collaborative way. While the G20 has played a pivotal role in the health response, it will need to continue to do so in the future. Finance and Health Ministers will discuss how to keep momentum and build on further coordination arrangements between Health and Finance Ministries.
The G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministers' Meeting will be held at Salone delle Fontane (Hall of Fountains), from 12.00 to 16.30 CEST. A Media Centre will be available to all accredited journalists from Thursday 28 October at 14.00 to Friday 29 October at 23.00.
All journalists interested in covering the event in person must apply for accreditation via www.g20.org/accreditation.html before Thursday 28 October at 12.00 CEST.