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World Health Summit

Newsletter 11/2020: #WHS2020 Wrap-Up

Dear friends,

The World Health Summit 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic was extraordinary in so many ways: More than 50 sessions in three days including more than 300 international speakers from all sectors were completely broadcast online. And the World Health Summit venue in Berlin turned into a huge electronic studio. The first fully-digital edition of the World Health Summit reached more live participants than ever: Over 6,000 people actively took part from all over the world – from Austria to Zimbabwe. And now, after the meeting, even more people are continuously watching the session recordings on the World Health Summit YouTube Channel.

The World Health Summit 2020 featured the most prominent organizations and leaders in global health, including the German Federal President, the President of the EU Commission, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the World Health Organization. Also of note: this year's speakers were equal in gender.

The World Health Summit 2020 could not have been more important - this is also shown by the international media attention. The summit took place at a time with an unprecedented need for global cooperation in health. In order to be successful, the COVID-19 responses need to go far beyond global health organizations – they require determined decisions by political bodies such as the G7 and the G20, financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank and many others. The World Health Summit and its academic backbone, the M8 Alliance, stand by the deep commitment to multilateralism, health diplomacy and international cooperation in science and research. It strongly supports the increasing cooperation between international organizations for health. This is also one of the core calls for action of the M8 Alliance Declaration 2020, the closing statement of the World Health Summit, which was also presented to the governments of the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia this November.

The M8 Alliance, this unique international, growing network of Academic Health Centers and Universities and National Academies of Medicine and Sciences, now has 30 members in 20 countries: We are proud and honored to welcome the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health and the Global Health Institute of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon as new members.

Dear friends,
Global health is more important than ever: Universal Health Coverage, Climate Change and Health, the Sustainable Development Goals, Health Systems Strengthening, Pandemic Preparedness, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health - we will continue to work towards these goals with all our partners.

Let us not forget: No one is safe until all are safe. And we must act accordingly, globally.

Stay healthy.

Detlev Ganten
Founding President

Charles Ibingira
International President 2020


The First Fully Digital World Health Summit in Numbers

- More than 6,000 digital participants
- More than 100 countries
310 speakers: 48% female and 52% male
- 53 sessions
- More than 17,500 views of all session recordings on YouTube (as of end of Nov.)
- More than 600 articles, reports and mentions in international media 
- Around 1,800 mentions of @WorldHealthSmt on Twitter
- Around 980 new followers of @WorldHealthSmt on Twitter in October

M8 Alliance Declaration

As a result of each World Health Summit, the M8 Alliance issues the M8 Alliance Declaration: recommendations for action to international policymakers.

The closing statement of the 12th World Health Summit has COVID-19 as its core. One of the central points:
"No one is safe until all are safe. This global health guiding principle stands at the centre of fighting COVID-19 and it stood at the centre of this year's 2020 virtual World Health Summit. Health is more than medicine, it is more than basic research, it is the essence of a functioning society. It is a political choice. The World Health Summit calls on decision makers around the world to act according to this principle." 

Read the full M8 Alliance Declaration 2020.

Opening Speeches

Some of the texts of the many great speeches from the World Health Summit 2020 opening ceremony, including Federal President of Germany, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Director-General of the WHO and others, are available on our website. Additionally, you can watch all speeches of the opening session as a recording.

Session Recordings

The recordings of all 53 sessions of #WHS2020 are available on the World Health Summit YouTube Channel.

Media Report

“Last week’s World Health Summit underlined the depth of the setbacks to global goals caused by the crisis while UN agencies called for more co-operation on science and the WHO chief hit out at the failure of global leadership.” wrote the Financial Times in its report on the World Health Summit. Read more on media attention, press releases, social media reach, and our media partners in this year's media report.


For a look behind the scenes and impressions from the #WHS2020 sessions and speakers, visit our gallery.

Graphic Recordings

Check out the graphic recordings highlighting the key messages from various #WHS2020 sessions. 


“No-one is safe from COVID-19; no-one is safe until we are all safe from it. Even those who conquer the virus within their own borders remain prisoners within these borders until it is conquered everywhere.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Federal President, Germany

Key Opening von der Leyen

"All pulling together – this must be the hallmark of the European Health Union. I believe this can be a test case for true global health compact. The need for leadership is clear and I believe the European Union must assume this responsibility."

Ursula von der Leyen
President, European Commission

Key Opening Guterres

"All countries have signed up to Universal Health Coverage by 2030. But we cannot wait ten years. We need health systems that work, before we face an outbreak of something more contagious than COVID-19; more deadly; or both."

Antonio Guterres
Secretary-General, United Nations (UN)

Key Opening Tedros

"The lesson is clear: a strong health system is a resilient health system. Health systems and preparedness are not only an investment in the future, they are the foundation of our response today."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)

"The EU has openly committed to playing a more active role in global health."

Marta Temido
Minister of Health, Portugal

"COVID-19 has revealed a collective failure to take pandemic prevention, preparedness and response seriously and prioritize it accordingly."

Victor Dzau 
President, National Academy of Medicine, USA


Welcoming two new M8 Alliance Members

The M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies is honored and proud to announce the addition of two new members: the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health. The M8 Alliance now counts 30 members from 20 different nations. Learn more about the M8 Alliance and its members.

About the newest members: 

American University of Beirut, Lebanon
The Global Health Institute at AUB addresses global health challenges with a focus on context and sustainable impact by employing an interdisciplinary approach. The primary focus are challenges that are affecting the MENA region, but have relevance to and impact on other regions in the Global South.

United Nations University International Institute for Global Health
UNU International Institute for Global Health is the designated UN think tank on global health and serves as a policy translation hub for UN member states, agencies and programmes. The Institute generates policy-relevant analysis by applying a gender lens to inform the development, implementation and evaluation of health programmes. 


"Health: A Political Choice - Act Now, Together" released at World Health Summit 2020

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the UN General Assembly, the latest publication "Health: A Political Choice - Act Now, Together" calls on world leaders and politicians to unite in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other imminent and long-term threats to population health and the global economy. It is the latest in a series of titles produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the first of which – Health: A Political Choice – called for UHC. It is an official publication of the Global Governance Project produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Detlev Ganten, World Health Summit President, Julian Kickbusch, World Health Summit Program Director, and Charles Ibingira, World Health Summit 2020 International President, co-authored an article included in this publication. Read the full publication

Berlin University Alliance & National University of Singapore: Call for Joint Research Proposals – Global Health Initiative 

The call for proposals with the National University of Singapore, an M8 Alliance member, allows the initiation and the development of joint global health research projects between the Berlin University Alliance and the NUS with the aim of pooling expertise and shaping long-term cooperation with the NUS with regard to key global health issues. Learn more about the application and funding here 

Talking Science Podcast by Berlin University Alliance, Charité Global Health & rbb

The first season of the podcast "TALKING SCIENCE - when science meets society", consisting of 7 episodes in German, was jointly produced by the Berlin University Alliance (BUA), Charité Global Health and the broadcaster rbb. Researchers from the alliance partners talk about important issues in the field of global health. The episode on the relation of climate change and pandemics was recorded live on the occasion of the World Health Summit as a podcast and as a video. Available on the BUA website, on the rbb website or on Spotify.

Live Podcast on the occasion of the World Health Summit 2020 with Christian Drosten, Charité Berlin, Jörg Niewöhner, Humboldt University Berlin and moderator Julia Vismann

Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership - Drug-resistant Infections: The Silent Pandemic We Must Tackle Now

Joanne Liu, Pediatric Emergency Physician at the University of Montreal, and former International President of Médecins Sans Frontières, Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of GARDP and speaker at the World Health Summit, and World Health Summit President Detlev Ganten co-authored an opinion piece on the danger of drug-resistant infections, which was published by Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP). Read more on the unchecked growth of drug-resistant infections and how this threat can be averted. 

Save the Dates

June 27-30, 2021: World Health Summit Regional Meeting, Kampala, Uganda

October 24-26, 2021: World Health Summit 2021, Berlin, Germany & digital

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