Joint Statement: G20 Finance and Health Ministerial Meeting in Gandhinagar

Indian Presidency hosted the G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministers Meeting, attended by Health Ministers and Finance Ministers (virtually) on 19th August 2023, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The meeting was co-chaired and opening remarks were delivered by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, and Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Health, Government of India. Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO gave an update on global health from the perspective of emerging/post pandemic scenario. Priya Basu, the Executive Head of the Pandemic Fund provided an update on the activities of Pandemic Fund.

The Executive Head of the JHFTF Secretariat, Serina Ng, made a presentation on the key deliverables brought out under the Indian Presidency. This includes, the Framework for Economic Vulnerabilities and Risks (FEVR), Report on Mapping Pandemic Response Financing Options and Gaps, and Report on Best Practices on Finance Health Institutional Arrangements during Covid-19.

G20 Finance and Health Ministers agreed on continuous strengthening of the global health architecture for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) through enhanced collaboration between Finance and Health Ministries. Ministers welcomed the multi-year work plan of the Task Force, approved under the Indian Presidency. Ministers welcomed the reports developed by the Task Force under the Indian Presidency, since these reports not only help members deepen their understanding of how future pandemics can impact the economy but also brought out the gaps in existing pandemic response institutional/funding arrangements. Some of the views expressed by countries in the discussions were those that are suggestive of future course for the Task Force including but not limited to development of an operational play book to ensure swift and adequate pandemic response financing; development of pandemic stress test; strengthening the supportive role of Task Force to WHO in global health architecture while duly considering country specific circumstances.

Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the first call for proposals of the Pandemic Fund and stated they look forward to the second call for proposals by the end of 2023.

Prime Minister Modi’s Address

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the G20 Health Ministers’ Meet held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat via video message. Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister welcomed dignitaries on behalf of 2.1 million doctors, 3.5 million nurses, 1.3 million paramedics, 1.6 million pharmacists and millions of others involved in the healthcare sector in India. Referring to the father of the nation, the Prime Minister said Gandhi ji considered health to be such an important issue that he wrote a book titled ‘Key to Health’ on the subject. He said that to be healthy is to have one’s mind and body in a state of harmony and balance, meaning that health is the very foundation of life.

The Prime Minister underlined that the Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that health should be at the center of our decisions. He said that time also showed us the value of international cooperation, whether in medicine and vaccine deliveries or in bringing our people back home. Highlighting Government of India’s humanitarian initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the world, the Prime Minister said under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, India delivered 300 million vaccine doses to more than 100 countries, including many in the Global South. Calling resilience one of the biggest lessons during the pandemic, the Prime Minister said Global Health Systems should be resilient. We must be ready to prevent, prepare, and respond to the next health emergency. This is especially important in today’s interconnected world. As we saw during the pandemic, health issues in one part of the world can affect all other parts of the world in a very short time.

“In India, we are following a holistic and inclusive approach,” the Prime Minister remarked. He said we are expanding health infrastructure, promoting traditional systems of medicine, and providing affordable healthcare to all. The global celebration of the International Day of Yoga is testament to the universal desire for holistic health. This year, 2023 is being marked as the International Year of Millets. Millets or ‘shri anna’ as they are known in India, have several health benefits.

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