Today I had the opportunity to deliver a few remarks virtually at the second Global COVID-19 Summit. Hosted by President Biden and the leaders of Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal and attended by heads of state from around the world, the summit was focused on ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and improving the world’s ability to prevent the next one.
That’s a huge topic (and one I just published a book about). But since the day’s agenda was quite full and I had only a few minutes to speak, I focused my remarks on just a few topics, including the need for a global team of experts who can help the world prepare for new disease threats. I announced a new commitment of up to $125 million from the Gates Foundation to fight COVID, get new tools developed faster, and help low- and middle-income countries improve their health systems. And I urged the other attendees to step up their own financial commitments too.
I’m glad to see governments coming together to work on all these issues. As long as these discussions lead to concrete actions, I’m optimistic that the world can bring this pandemic to an end—and make sure no one ever has to suffer through another one.
Here’s the text of my remarks:
Remarks as prepared
May 12, 2022
Global COVID Summit
I’m grateful to the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal for bringing us together on this critical issue.
Thank you, too, to the Biden administration for your efforts to secure more funding for global pandemic response. I hope Congress acts on this quickly.
The pandemic isn’t over yet. That point was made even clearer to me this week when I tested positive for COVID.
It’s also clear that the world was not ready for this pandemic. The good news is, we know how to prevent the next one.
But we don’t have time to waste. We all need to step up our commitments.
Today, the Gates Foundation is committing up to $125 million to help end this pandemic and prevent the next one. We’re especially going to support the countries most often left behind.
I know that great progress is possible if others join us in investing in new approaches to these challenges.
The world is facing a lot of urgent challenges. I’m convinced we can afford to address them all—and we can’t afford not to.
I’m optimistic that we can make remarkable progress. I’m encouraged by Indonesia and the G20’s efforts to catalyze new pandemic funding. The G7, working with the African Union and other partners, can play a huge role in ensuring international cooperation.
I know we can prevent the next pandemic—and make the world a safer, more equitable place—if we all act now.