Germany deepened its longstanding engagement with WHO on Thursday with two new agreements: one to contribute a further €40 million to WHO’s work in health emergencies, and a second to host the Berlin-based WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence.
With the new contribution, Germany has provided €53.5 million so far this year to support WHO’s response to more than 50 active health emergencies.
“This is important because climate disasters, conflicts, and the ongoing pandemic demand urgent action,” said Susanne Baumann, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office for Germany (GFFO), whose delegation met with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Our support is flexible and vital for saving lives around the globe.”
Through the GFFO, the country provides substantial funding to humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen, and to Ebola responses in Africa.
Germany is an all-time top donor to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE), having contributed €115 million since the CFE’s inception in 2015. The contributions have made a significant impact on the health of people caught up in humanitarian crises; this year alone, CFE funding allowed WHO to bring immediate, lifesaving support to victims of floods in Libya, conflict in Sudan, cholera and diphtheria outbreaks, and earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
Of the new €40 million contribution, €20 million goes to the WHO Health Emergencies Appeal 2023, €10 million to the Ukraine emergency, €10 million for emergencies in Africa.
Thursday’s meeting also featured the signing of a host agreement for the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. The Hub was established with Germany’s support in Berlin in September 2021 to provide the world with better data, analytics and decisions to detect and respond to health emergencies.
Coinciding with the signing of the host agreement in Geneva, the German government held in Berlin a high-level forum “Pandemics: no time for neglect,” which focused on political priorities and actions on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, along with financing for resilient health systems. WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr Jeremy Farrar, and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Emergency Intelligence and Surveillance Systems, addressed the Forum.
“After last week’s historic political declaration at the UN General Assembly committing to stronger collaboration, investments, and governance to prevent, prepare, and respond to future pandemics, I am appreciative of Germany’s leadership leveraging the political momentum to host this high-level forum,” Dr Tedros said. “We must continue the dialogue to align on strengthening and financing health systems.”
In the coming weeks, Germany will join with WHO in two more Berlin-based events:
- Breaking Barriers: Advancing the One Health Agenda with a Focus on Environment (12-13 October).
- The World Health Summit 2023 (15-17 October) will gather stakeholders from more than 100 countries under the theme: “A Defining Year for Global Health Action.”
In a whole-of-government investment approach, Germany commits funds from its federal ministries: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the German Development Bank (KfW), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Ministry for the Environment.