Mr Ingo Behnel, Ambassador Dr Katharina Stasch, Dr Gesa Miehe-Nordmeyer and Dr Catharina Boehme. ©WHO/Lindsay Mackenzie
In a meeting on 3 November, Germany reaffirmed its support for WHO as the Organization takes on wide-ranging global health challenges and advocated prompt action to establish a pandemic accord – an international agreement that would pave the way for better collaboration on emergencies, science and research.
A German delegation that included Dr Katharina Stasch, UN Ambassador in Geneva; Ingo Behnel, Director-General of European and International Policy Issues at the German Ministry of Health; and Dr Gesa Miehe-Nordmeyer, Director General of the German Chancellery’s Department for Social, Health, Labor Market, Environment and Social Policy, met with WHO representatives including Assistant Director-General Dr Catharina Boehme, Emergencies Programme Executive Director Dr Michael Ryan and Chief Scientist Dr Jeremy Farrar.
During the meeting Germany also reaffirmed its support for flexible, sustainable funding to carry out WHO’s 14th General Programme of Work for 2025-28 (GPW14) towards vital objectives such as withstanding pandemics, responding to health emergencies, and confronting the threats to health posed by climate change and drug-resistant infections.
“Germany is very supportive of WHO, and also supportive of the pandemic agreement,” Dr Miehe-Nordmeyer said, adding that Member States have a clear window of opportunity to establish the pandemic agreement in time for the World Health Assembly next May.
Dr Ryan praised Germany for having been a “huge supporter of global health security over many years,” cited the country’s voluntary contributions to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies, its support during the COVID-19 pandemic for technology, science, innovation and operations, and for its hosting of the World Health Summit, a leading strategic forum for global health advocacy.
Germany is the largest donor to the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE), which enables WHO to respond without delay to health emergencies worldwide.
Dr Ryan called the Germany-supported WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin “a physical manifestation of Germany’s commitment” to global health security. The Hub was launched in 2021 to provide the world with better data and analytics to detect and respond to health emergencies.
At the meeting Germany and WHO signed funding agreements to support emergency responses in Libya (€1 million) and Yemen (€3 million).
An afternoon session with WHO Chief Scientist Jeremy Farrar touched on embedding science and research action across the Organization, helping countries develop ecosystems for health research and science, and supporting the international community with a digitalization agenda.
Dr Farrar also discussed WHO’s aim to add WHO collaborating centres, particularly in the Global South, and branch out into new research areas. WHO has 847 collaborating centers in more than 80 countries.
“We’d like to see collaborating centres on digital, on A.I., on trust, or on horizon scanning for the future of science,” Dr Farrar said. “We would like to work more closely with the collaborating centres and for them to see themselves very much as a part of WHO,” Dr Farrar said.