The world has endured the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years. We have seen more than 5 million deaths worldwide, devastated economies, and destroyed livelihoods. New variants continue to emerge, increasing the uncertainty about the end of the pandemic. Despite progress in worldwide vaccination, we are not where we need to be. This is not only a health crisis, but an economic, humanitarian, and security crisis as well. Governments must summon the political will to work together and with leading institutions and leaders across key sectors to keep the focus on both ending the pandemic and building back better global health security capacity and architecture so that we can collectively prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious disease threats.
This global pandemic requires global action – and continued focus – which is why Secretary Blinken convened a virtual COVID-19 Ministerial on November 10, 2021.
Foreign Ministers must play a central role to bring this pandemic to an end and prepare for the future. With the Secretary’s counterparts and leaders from regional and international organizations, participants assessed the current state of the global response to COVID-19, the virus’s impact, and the threat of future pandemics. Participants discussed efforts to accelerate toward vaccine equity and impact, and the need for sustainable financing for global health security. They also assessed the role of enhanced regional collaboration and coordinated political leadership in current and future preparedness and response.
This ministerial built on the momentum generated by President Biden’s COVID-19 Summit, and it aimed to establish a platform for regular engagements among foreign ministers to address health security.