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On 21 May 2021 in Rome, the European Commission and Italy, as chair of the G20, co-hosted the Global Health Summit.

Leaders of the G20 committed to a series of actions to accelerate the end of the COVID-19 crisis everywhere and better prepare for future pandemics.

The Summit was an opportunity for G20 and invited leaders, heads of international and regional organisations, and representatives of global health bodies, to share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders adopted a ‘Rome Declaration’, committing to common principles to overcome COVID-19 and to prevent and prepare for future pandemics.

This very first G20 summit on health marks the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy. World leaders strongly committed to multilateralism and global cooperation in health. This means, no export bans, keeping global supply chains open and working to extend production capacity everywhere. If we live up to these principles, the world will be better prepared for pandemics.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

The EU will come forward with a proposal in the World Trade Organization focusing on:

  • clarifying and facilitating the use of compulsory licences in crisis times like this pandemic;
  • supporting the expansion of production;
  • trade facilitation and limiting export restrictions.

All G20 members also acknowledged the need to address the funding gap of the ACT-Accelerator, and agreed to extend its mandate to the end of 2022.

The leaders further agreed on the need for early warning information, surveillance and trigger systems, which will be interoperable. These will cover new viruses, but also variants. They will enable countries to detect much quicker and to act to nip in the bud outbreaks, before they become pandemics.

G20 clearly stressed the need to ensure equitable access to vaccines and to support low and middle-income countries.

BioNTech/Pfizer (1 billion), Johnson & Johnson (200 million) and Moderna (around 100 million) pledged 1.3 billion doses of vaccines, to be delivered to low-income countries at no profit, and to middle-income countries at lower prices by the end of 2021, many of which will go via COVAX. They committed more than 1 billion doses for 2022.

Team Europe aims at donating 100 million doses of vaccines to low and middle-income countries until the end of the year, in particular through COVAX.

In addition to covering current vaccine needs, Team Europe will also invest to equip Africa to produce vaccines itself. Team Europe has launched an initiative to boost manufacturing capacity in Africa and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies. The initiative, backed by €1 billion funding from the EU budget and European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank, will cover investments in infrastructure and production capacity, but also in training and skills, supply chains management, and regulatory framework.

Summit participants

  • G20 members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Singapore, Spain, and the Netherlands were guest countries
  • Heads of state or government from Portugal (as Presidency of the Council of the EU), Norway (as Co-Chair of the ACT-Accelerator), and Switzerland
  • Leaders of international and regional organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the African Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Representatives of global health actors such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), the Global Fund, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

The preparation of Summit principles was an inclusive process informed by scientific evidence, civil society and other stakeholder’s views, including those expressed in relevant international fora and multilateral institutions. These include among others, the G7, the G20, the WHO’s World Health Assembly, the Independent Panel for pandemic preparedness and response, and the High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response.