75th United Nations General Assembly Side Event: Sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience: Adopting a whole-of-society approach and breaking the “panic-then-forget” cycle

Summary

“We cannot, cannot, cannot let the world forget because the next one may not be anything but the worst one. This (COVID-19) may just be a harbinger of what may come, we are living with too much risk” – Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programmes

On 1 October 2020, the Governments of the French Republic, and the Republics of Finland and Indonesia co-hosted a virtual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event titled “Sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience: Adopting a whole-of-society approach and breaking the “panic-then-forget” cycle”.

The meeting was attended by over 220 high-level participants and brought together Ministers and leaders of Member States, regional and international organizations, funders and partners to highlight and advocate for long-term sustainable preparedness in the context of COVID-19. This includes through diplomacy, investments, capacity building and health system strengthening. The side event paid special attention to the importance of applying a whole-of-society approach through effective multisectoral collaboration and community engagement.

Speakers for the meeting were as follows:

Welcome Address
Moderator: Dr Stella Chungong, Director, Health Security Preparedness, WHO

  • H.E. Director-General Tedros Adhanom – Director-General, World Health Organization
  • H.E. Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi – Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia
  • H.E. Ambassador Stéphanie Seydoux – Ambassador for Global Health, French Republic
  • H.E. Ambassador Päivi Sillanaukee – Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing, Republic of Finland
Opening Presentation
  • Dr Jaouad Mahjour – Assistant Director General for Emergency Preparedness, World Health Organization

Thematic Session 1 – Member States’ Perspectives on Emergency Preparedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Opening: H.E. Hasan Kleib – Indonesia Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva
Moderator: Associate Professor Vernon Lee, Lancet Commission Chair

  • H.E. Minister Ahmed Al-Saidi – Minister for Health, Sultanate of Oman
  • H.E. Minister Gan Kim Yong – Minister for Health, Republic of Singapore
  • H.E. Minister Tamara van Ark – Minister for Medical Care and Sport, Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • H.E. Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr – Minister of Health and Social Action, Republic of Senegal
  • H.E. Ambassador Salomon Eheth – Coordinator of the Group of African Ambassadors in Geneva for Health Issues
  • H.E. Deputy Director-General Helga Barth – Deputy Director-General, Federal Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany
Thematic Session 2 – Building Partnerships on Emergency Preparedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Opening: H.E. Päivi Sillanaukee – Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing, Finland
Moderator: Associate Professor Vernon Lee, Lancet Commission Chair

  • H.E. President Francesco Rocca – President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • H.E. Secretary-General Martin Chungong – Secretary-General, Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Mr Sami Kanaan – Mayor of Geneva and President of the Geneva Cities Hub
  • Ms Henriette Geiger – Director for People and Peace, Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, European Commission
  • Professor Duncan Selbie – Treasurer and Executive Board Member, International Association of National Public Health Institutes
Additional Viewpoints
  • Dr Pilar Aparicio, Director-General for Public Health, Kingdom of Spain
  • Dr Laura Piovesan, Director of Innovation and Competitiveness, European Investment Bank
  • Dr Susan Corning, Senior Advisor, World Organization for Animal Health
  • Associate Professor Frode Forland, Specialist Director Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Mr Stephen Herchen from the Private Sector Innovation for Global Goods
Closing Comments
  • Dr Mike Ryan – Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization
  • H.E. Ambassador Stéphanie Seydoux – Ambassador for Global Health, French Republic

The side event concept note can be found here, and biographies of speakers and moderators here.

The press release for the event can be found here

The final side event report will be published soon.

Thank you to all Member States and Partners for joining us for this successful event. Let us continue in our endeavor to make the world better prepared for future health threats and emergencies!