I acknowledge that current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic need a strongly coordinated international response, using a whole of society multi-sectoral approach this is based on science and evidence, consistent with universal human rights, and utilising the strengths of the non-governmental sector. 

The Agenda is a group of countries which have committed to being better prepared for epidemics. Right now, many of our key voices, the experts and leaders nominated by governments, are silent as they work to contain the outbreak. 

Is COVID-19 a sign that our efforts to better prepare, to reduce the risk and the impacts, failed? 

No. Because of the work of GHSA, we have more information than in any previous outbreak about which countries have the most prepared systems, and where the international community needs to direct assistance.

As countries and partners work to respond to spread of COVID-19, national plans supported by the International Health Regulations and Joint External Evaluations are guiding action and providing resources for decision making, prioritisation, and actions. 

Experts coordinating laboratories, quarantine, supplies, contract tracing and vital research are better connected than ever before, through their work in Action Packages to build relationships and share information about their national systems. And, when the the international community comes through this outbreak, GHSA will lead partnerships to incorporate lessons and implement new resilience measures

Because disease is a natural part of our world, so it’s not a question of if but when the next outbreak will be.

Governments and partners can only endeavour to provide the best possible healthcare systems that protect and care for people when they get sick. 

And they can invest in preparedness. 

In a globalised world, diseases know no borders, and global preparedness for the health security risk that comes with that is one of the great challenges of our time, that, like other great challenges, can only be solved collectively.

Roland Driece
Chair (Netherlands), Global Health Security Agenda

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