Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Welcome Message 2017

Global challenges call for global responses. This applies also and in particular to the fight against infectious diseases. These diseases do not end at national borders. The global increase in mobility also increases risk that they will spread. The international community knows all too well that epidemics can have disastrous consequences. That is why, this year, Germany made Global Health Policy a focus of its G20 Presidency. Under the motto “Shaping an interconnected world”, we and our partners have successfully sent a strong signal of cooperation.

The aim is to strengthen the world’s healthcare systems. This means guaranteeing both extensive preventive measures and, in the event of a crisis, a rapid international response. The United Nations and the World Health Organization are crucial for coordinating these efforts. Their structures must be made fit for this purpose, and they must receive sufficient funding. To effectively fight global health crises, all actors need to cooperate efficiently. A key requirement is of course that countries have well functioning healthcare systems in place. It is not only important at local level, but also in the global interest, that healthcare specialists on the ground can detect outbreaks of dangerous diseases at an early stage.

That is why one of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to ensure universal healthcare. This includes global responses in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. All our efforts to improve healthcare structures will amount to very little if therapies become ineffective. Antibiotics must therefore be used responsibly, so that the spread of resistant bacteria can be limited. Moreover, new vaccines and antibiotics must be developed. In tackling this great challenge, it is paramount that we coordinate our support for research and development, and that we employ our resources in a targeted way. I am therefore delighted that the G20 countries have agreed to establish a global research initiative.

Shaping an interconnected world: To fully live up to this responsibility and give globalisation a human dimension, we must first have a comprehensive dialogue. The World Health Summit has become a well and widely respected international forum when it comes to the joint search for effective responses to global health issues. I want to express my heartfelt thanks for the valuable work you are doing, by contributing your knowledge and experience to this common effort. As patron of the World Health Summit 2017, I would like to welcome all the participants to Berlin.