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March 23, 2022

As the G20 Health Working Group kicks off with its initial meeting next week under the Indonesian presidency, health officials from the world’s top economies will be discussing commitments and systemic changes to better prepare for future health threats and improve health equity.

As G20 leaders consider broader reforms to reimagine our global health architecture, GHTC urges them to prioritize the following actions to bolster health research and development (R&D).

  1. Build sustainable financing structures to mobilize new resources for R&D to address both emerging and enduring global health challenges. G20 nations should fully fund existing multilateral R&D mechanisms for pandemic preparedness and response including the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator—which faces an immediate need of US$840 million to close upstream R&D gaps for vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics—and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations—which received just over $1.5 billion of its $3.5 billion replenishment ask to fulfill its next five-year strategy to ramp up vaccine R&D for potentially epidemic threats. G20 countries should also increase assessed contributions to the World Health Organization to at least 50 percent of the base budget by 2029 to enable stronger core funding for its Science Division and programs to facilitate product access, as well as create a new pandemic preparedness fund that could be tapped to bolster regional and national R&D capacity. Beyond addressing epidemic threats, G20 nations should increase investments in R&D for poverty-related and neglected diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including supporting the Global AMR R&D Hub, to close key gaps in our arsenal of tools.
  2. Improve coordination and alignment of R&D actors, while centering the needs of vulnerable populations. G20 nations must support reforms to better integrate R&D into existing health preparedness governance frameworks. The G20 should push for targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations to facilitate R&D coordination and information sharing and modify the Joint External Evaluation process to add a new indicator to better assess national R&D readiness. As pandemic framework negotiations advance, new norms and standards must also be set to govern pathogen and data sharing, research and regulatory coordination, and procurement to facilitate more equitable access to resulting medical countermeasures. Research funders should also prioritize targeted investments in R&D to address the unique needs of pediatric populations, pregnant and lactating people, and other vulnerable populations who are too often neglected in R&D efforts.
  3. Scale up manufacturing capacity for vaccines, treatments, and other health technologies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). G20 nations should bolster local and regional manufacturing capacity in LMICs through investments and technical support. These investments in manufacturing capacity strengthening must also be coupled with regulatory improvements and commitments by private companies and governments to step up support for technology transfer and workforce development so new innovations can be produced safely and rapidly at scale.

It is GHTC’s hope that G20 nations will use this inaugural meeting to chart a new path toward building a more resilient, fit-for-purpose, and equitable R&D ecosystem of the future. 

For a more detailed look at GHTC recommendations to G20 health leaders, view this document