(Source: European Commission)
Thank you, Mario.
Thank you very much and thank you all for joining us today, and welcome to the Global Health Summit.
We have been working on this Summit for almost nine months now. And many of you have been working with us even longer. Today, we will talk a lot about ‘lessons learnt’ throughout this pandemic. And the first lesson I learnt was how much we need each other. How much people in government need to work with people like you – scientists, experts, health workers, pharmaceutical companies, foundations and of course civil society organisations – all caring about global health.
I shall never forget how much the scientific community has helped us in the toughest moments of the pandemic. If today we have hope, it is thanks to the women and men who have dedicated their lives to science, a career of hard work and – very often – little recognition. We really owe you. And I am glad that you have guided us on the road leading to this Rome Summit.
I would also like to thank the global health partners and civil society representatives for walking alongside us. Today, we will discuss how to provide sustainable financing for healthcare and preparedness. This year, civil society has helped us fill the funding gap and advance the global vaccination campaign, for example through global broadcasting events like VAX LIVE organised by Global Citizen. Thank you for this. We are also here because we have been inspired and motivated by you.
The logic behind this Summit is to turn the experience of this year into sustainable solutions for the future. So I would like to kick off by announcing a new Global Health Policy Forum. It will be an annual high-level event bringing together global health partners in policy dialogues so that your voice and your experience can continue guiding and inspiring us.
Before I finish, I want to say a word about the tireless health professionals and frontline workers. And I am glad that one of you is with us today. I know a lot of it, because I am by training a medical doctor. But today I would like to speak as a member of the public. And I would like to thank you. You have worked in the most impossible conditions. You have saved countless lives. And even when there was nothing you could do, you gave your everything and you tried to alleviate your patients’ suffering. This Summit is also for you. And in the Rome Declaration we will all commit to investing in our most important health infrastructure – that is, our health professionals and community workers.
Today, we will focus on three goals. First, bringing this pandemic under control, everywhere. Second, making sure that vaccines reach everybody everywhere, not only through sharing and export, but also by spreading manufacturing capacities to more regions. And in this context, Team Europe aims at donating at least 100 million doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. And third, preventing and preparing for future health crises. So I am glad to have all of you here. I look forward to hearing your ideas, and we will take them forward into the Summit discussions this afternoon.