Australia joins GHSA Steering Committee

Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security, Peter Versegi, and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, participated in the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting from 6‐8 November 2018 in Bali, Indonesia.

GHSA member countries, international and non-government organisations and private sector representatives met to review progress against the GHSA’s priorities during its first five years, from 2014 to 2019, and to launch a new framework for action for the next five years – “GHSA 2024”.

Under the theme “Advancing Global Partnerships”, stakeholders in the GHSA discussed achievements and priorities for further work in key technical areas, including biosecurity and biosafety, anti-microbial resistance (AMR), regional cooperation, collaboration between the human and animal health sectors, and the financing of national action plans for health security.

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In delivering Australia’s national statement, Professor Murphy highlighted Australia’s new investments in regional and global health security through the Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region.

He also reinforced the value of the WHO-led Joint External Evaluation process, which assesses countries’ health security preparedness and applies equally to developed and developing countries and underlined the importance of determined and coordinated action to address the AMR threat. Australia underwent the JEE process in 2017 and is now developing a national action plan for health security.

“AMR is a One Health issue that relies heavily on contributions by industry, civil society, regulators, professionals and academia ... This is a challenge for us all, and one that Australia will continue to engage with as we commence developing our next national AMR strategy for beyond 2019,” said Professor Murphy.

The government of Italy, as Chair of the GHSA Steering Group in 2019, announced that Australia will join the Steering Group for two years from January 2019.

“Australia is very pleased to be taking up a position as a rotating member of the GHSA Steering Group, and to act as a voice for our region in general and Oceania in particular,” said Ambassador Versegi.

The Ministerial Meeting was preceded on 5 November by the annual plenary meeting of the Joint External Evaluation Alliance, a body established to foster and coordinate international cooperation in support of the implementation of national action plans for health security.

The Alliance, co-chaired by Finland’s Permanent Secretary for Health, Päivi Sillanaukee, and the head of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, Robin Davies, approved a new program of work that strongly complements the objectives of the GHSA 2024 framework.