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Statement on the First Health Working Group Meeting Under the G20 India Presidency by Dr. Naveen Rao, MD, Senior Vice President for The Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Initiative

January 24, 2023

The Rockefeller Foundation was honored to participate in the inaugural Health Working Group meeting under the G20 India Presidency last week. Recognizing that the most acute health and climate risks – and biggest resource gaps – are found in the developing world, we are particularly excited to see greater focus on the Global South’s needs.

We are pleased to see discussions centered around the Pandemic Fund and Digital Public Goods. India’s commitment to the Pandemic Fund, a continuity from the Indonesian Presidency, underscores the outsized need for critical investments to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacities at national, regional, and global levels. Countries must take full advantage of this first-of-its-kind financing mechanism to close critical gaps, strengthen health outcomes, and bolster health systems to better prepare for future pandemics. To date, the Fund has secured only $1.6 billion in pledges of its $10.5 billion annual budget.

Similarly, the focus on Digital Public Goods has the potential to improve access to quality health care and support Universal Health Coverage. India’s CoWIN system, which builds on India’s Aadhar and UPI systems, can be expanded as fundamental building blocks in other countries. In addition, scaling digital health innovations can help nations build and maintain cross-country emergency response networks for better coordination, earlier detection, and faster response.

There is a unique opportunity for a new lens in global health architecture – one that includes regional coordination, cross-country networks, local capacity building, and consideration of the health impacts of climate change. We are confident that India will continue to use its G20 Presidency to bring nations together in building momentum for stronger health systems.

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