Welcoming the G20's Commitment To Stop Ebola and Strengthen Global Health Security

Posted by Gayle Smith
November 15, 2014
World Leaders Pose for Family Photo During G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia

We have consistently said that Ebola is an urgent global challenge requiring an urgent and commensurate global response.  Earlier today, Leaders of the G20 -- a collection of the world’s largest economies -- answered that call from their ongoing summit in Brisbane, Australia. They committed to continued and intensified action to end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and pledged to assist others to achieve needed health security capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to future outbreaks before they become epidemics.

The communique commends the extraordinary international commitments and cooperation toward the Ebola response to-date, while urging countries around the globe -- as well as international organizations and the private sector -- to do their part. The statement also goes one step farther to achieve global implementation of the World Health Organization International Health Regulations, which over 40 countries and 17 G-20 members have now pledged to accelerate through the Global Health Security Agenda.

Specifically, among other steps, G20 Leaders pledged to:

  • Expedite the provision of funds and other forms of assistance to the affected countries, including personnel, medical teams and personnel, medical and protective equipment, and medicines and treatments;
  • Share their experiences fighting the epidemic to ensure healthcare workers and other responders encounter the safest conditions possible;
  • Urge greater efforts on the part of researchers, regulators, and pharmaceutical companies to develop safe, effective, and affordable diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments;
  • Call upon international and regional institutions—as well as civil society and the private sector—to devise ways to mitigate the impacts of the epidemic and facilitate an economic recovery for the affected countries;
  • Encourage the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund to continue their strong support for the affected countries, including through concessional loans, debt relief, and grants;
  • Build capacity to prevent, detect, report early and rapidly respond to infectious diseases such as Ebola so that future outbreaks of infectious diseases can be stanched before they develop into epidemics; and,
  • Set a date by next May for those members that wish to accelerate action to announce a timeline for establishing the needed capacity across the Economic Community of West African States and other vulnerable regions to combat future infectious disease threats.

All told, the international community has already committed more than $1.5 billion to fight the epidemic, while officials from countries large and small have worked on the ground hand-in-hand, together with authorities from the affected countries and humanitarian responders, to beat back this disease. But, today’s communique signals a commitment on the part of the world’s largest and most powerful countries to see this challenge through and to recognize infectious outbreaks for what they are: global threats. The United States will be there until the Ebola epidemic is contained and the affected countries are back on their feet. And today, many of our closest allies and partners pledged to be right there with us.

About the Author: Gayle Smith serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council, where she is responsible for global development, democracy, and humanitarian assistance issues.

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on the White House Blog.

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bankole l.
November 15, 2014
Together, no disease will threaten our existence, kudos to all the world leaders coming together in combating the scourge and other dreaded disease most especially in west africa and other part of the world.itd through partnership and help from donor agency that can make the vulnerability of these affected countries get over it..thanks to united states of America for the donations given to Liberia and the rest of g20. God bless you all.
Quintino C.
November 15, 2014
The work being done by the G20 to fight Ebola, is very important because it allows the reduction of the mortality rate, affected by the disease at the same time ensures the welfare of the population of the affected countries. Congratulations on met with the only goal being to combat Ebola.
Nobel M.
Kansas, USA
November 18, 2014
Essentially concluded in a short period of time and with success, the wars in Iraq and Libya, congratulations and consolidation of troops and key leaders who are teaching contributions, and the challenges of the future for a life as the happy generations.
Nick H.
District Of Columbia, USA
November 18, 2014
It is good to hear that the economic powers are coming together to hammer out the detail of an international Ebola response. All of the efforts that were laid out seem really well advised, particularly the efforts in combination with the IMF and World Bank to build response capacities in the affected countries in West Africa. One of the important lessons of this outbreak is the importance of cooperating with developing countries to build their own institutions for health care. Instead of acting as an international community in response to crises such as the current Ebola crisis, we could count on the countries to develop their own responses through their own institutions. Development funds should be given in hopes of creating the capacity for countries to mold and create their own strong and responsive institutions. This would not only be a better solution in terms of saving lives, but it would also be a better use of international funds geared towards development. A world with stronger health and other institutions across the board is a world that is safer for Americans. $1.5 billion dollars in funds for the Ebola response may be necessary now, but one can only imagine how much farther that money could have gone towards institutional development 5 or 10 years ago.


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