Honourable Mr von Holtz, Honourable Dr De Ridder, honourable members of the subcommittee,
Guten abend, und willkommen bei der WHO. Thank you for the opportunity of meeting with you today.
They say that in a crisis you really find out who your friends are, and in the past 15 difficult months, Germany has been a true friend to WHO.
I especially appreciate the leadership and partnership of Chancellor Merkel and the Ministry of Health.
Earlier this year I was privileged to welcome President Steinmeier, and just last week I had the honour also of meeting with Federal Minister Müller.
In October last year I also had the opportunity to meet, as you said, with the Bundestag Committee on Health, and I’m very pleased to be able to meet with you today.
Germany has been a key ally in providing the political and high-level advocacy for overcoming obstacles to humanitarian action in vulnerable regions.
For example, thank you for your leadership in co-organizing the Central Sahel Ministerial Conference in October last year, ensuring that the COVID-19 response and humanitarian access in the region did not grind to a halt.
Germany has consistently been a generous contributor to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies, allowing WHO the resources to respond rapidly to outbreaks and other health emergencies.
Germany is the largest contributor to the fund, with more than US$68 million in contributions since 2015, including US$17 million this year.
Your support clearly makes a real difference.
Last year alone, the CFE was used to help stop two Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and supported the COVID-19 response in the earliest days, prioritizing countries with weak health systems and at high risk.
WHO also released more than US$2 million within 24 hours to provide essential medical supplies to hospitals treating victims of the Beirut explosion;
And we made high-impact allocations in response to flooding in Sudan, the conflict in Syria, and the cyclone response in Vanuatu, among other emergencies.
Rapid response to emergencies is a key part of WHO’s mandate, but so is preventing and preparing for them.
That’s why we have established a new division of emergency preparedness.
WHO is very encouraged that Germany is looking seriously at adjusting its aid and development strategy to address the root causes of conflict, to build inclusive societies through peacebuilding and security and human rights, and to deliver on the promise of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.
WHO is also working to shift the discourse of health aid – to move beyond the cycle of panic and neglect that has marked global emergency response for decades.
Our vision is to ensure that responses to health emergencies also address the triggers of conflict, and to build resilient health systems that deliver equitable access to services and support countries along the road to universal health coverage.
I would like to outline three specific areas in which we seek your support:
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First, we seek Germany’s political and financial support for WHO’s Health and Peace initiative, which works to implement health programmes that also deliver peace dividends in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable populations.
Second, we seek your continued advocacy as parliamentarians for much-needed ODA resources for fragile, conflict and vulnerable settings, with the aim of mitigating displacement and stabilizing highly vulnerable groups.
And third, we seek your continued support, including high-level advocacy, to ensure a more sustainable replenishment model for the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.
Vielen dank once again for your support and partnership, and I look forward to our discussion.