(Released 16 November 2015) Today during the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey, President Obama announced that the United States and 30 countries, listed below, have made a commitment to work together to achieve the targets of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Working closely with these partners and countries around the world, we will strive to achieve a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats by building measurable, sustainable capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring, accidental or deliberately spread. We call on all countries to make additional commitments to save lives by preventing future outbreaks from becoming epidemics.
Beginning with the release of the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats in 2009, and outlined in his 2011 speech at the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama has called upon all countries to come together to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. On February 13, 2014, together with partners from around the world, we launched the GHSA with the vision of achieving a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats through building our collective capacity to prevent and control outbreaks whenever and wherever they occur.
GHSA accelerates action and spurs progress toward implementation of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations and other global health security frameworks, such as the World Organization for Animal Health’s Performance of Veterinary Services Pathway. The non-governmental sector also has an important role to play in the implementation of GHSA, including academic and research institutes, think tanks, industry, philanthropy and the private sector.
U.S. Commitment When the GHSA was launched, the United States made a commitment to partner with least 30 countries over five years to achieve the GHSA targets. In July 2015, the U.S. Government announced its intent to invest more than $1 billion in resources to expand the GHSA to prevent, detect, and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks in 17 countries. Today, we are announcing an additional 13 countries, with which the United States will partner to achieve the targets of the GHSA. These common, measurable targets have now been recognized by over 40 countries and achievement of these targets will expand our ability to:
Prevent or mitigate the impact of naturally-occurring outbreaks and intentional or accidental releases of dangerous pathogens;
Rapidly detect and transparently report outbreaks when they occur; and
Rapidly respond and control outbreaks before they become epidemics.
The 30 partner countries of the United States are: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, and Vietnam. In addition, we plan to partner with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to strengthen regional capacity.
In each of these countries, the United States is working with host governments and other partners to establish a five-year country roadmap to achieve and sustain each of the targets of the GHSA. These roadmaps are intended to enable a better understanding across sectors and assistance providers of the specific milestones, next steps, and gaps toward achieving capacity needed to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.
During the 2015 G-7 Summit in Germany, G-7 leaders matched this approach with an historic commitment to collectively assist at least 60 countries, including the countries of West Africa, over the next five years. In October, 2015, the G-7 Health Ministers agreed to announce these countries by the end of 2015.
The 29 member G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction also contributes to achieving the GHSA targets by bringing together the health and security sectors to establish global capacity, particularly in the areas of biosecurity, biosafety, biosurveillance, laboratory strengthening, and emergency response.
Preventing Future Outbreaks from Becoming Epidemics: Since its launch in 2014, the GHSA has brought together partners and sectors from over 40 countries and 9 international organizations around the world to enhance global capacities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats through achieving measurable targets. The GHSA Steering Group includes 10 countries, chaired in 2015 by Finland, in 2016 by Indonesia, and in 2017 by the Republic of Korea. The GHSA Steering Group currently includes: Canada, Chile, Finland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.
The GHSA invests in needed capacity – infrastructure, equipment, and skilled personnel across sectors – and enhances coordination and commitment for countries, international organizations and civil society to work together to achieve the following specific targets: Countering antimicrobial resistance; preventing the emergence and spread of zoonotic disease; advancing a whole-of-government national biosafety and biosecurity system in every country; improving immunization; establishing a national laboratory system; strengthening real-time biosurveillance; advancing timely and accurate disease reporting; establishing a trained global health security workforce; establishing emergency operations centers; linking public health, law and multi-sectoral rapid response; and enhancing medical countermeasures and personnel deployment.
As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa reached epidemic levels in September 2014, the White House hosted a high level meeting with 44 countries to announce over 100 commitments to strengthen capabilities under the GHSA. In 2015, the Republic of Korea hosted the second high level event to bring together GHSA participating countries and organizations to highlight new commitments and progress. In 2016, the Netherlands will host the third GHSA high level event to highlight progress and continue to build momentum.