In June 2019, over 800 members of the global health security community gathered in Sydney, Australia, to participate in the first International Scientific Conference on Global Health Security. Participants came from over 65 countries, representing academia, local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, public and animal health and security professionals, and the private sector, all committed to advancing global health security. As a product of this conference, we present “The Sydney Statement on Global Health Security.”
Global health security is a state of freedom from the scourge of infectious disease, irrespective of origin or source. It is achieved through the policies, programmes, and activities taken to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from biological threats. There are numerous challenges that pose significant risk to global health security, including a wide array of pathogens that present an existing and ongoing threat to both individual and collective health, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the emergence of currently untreatable infections, the potential for deliberate use of a biological weapon, and the synthesis of eradicated or novel pathogens. The complexity of addressing these challenges is amplified by a multitude of contextual factors. These threats know no borders and have global consequences requiring more effective collective action.
Addressing global health security threats should be guided by the following set of principles:
- 1Global health security interventions must strive to be inclusive, equitable, and data driven.
- 2A minimum level of disease prevention, detection, and response capabilities are critical for all countries, as epidemics anywhere threaten the health of everyone. Achieving global health security is also intricately linked with efforts to achieve universal health coverage, efforts to strengthen other vital aspects of broader health and security systems, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
- 3Governments must cooperate programmatically, organizationally and financially to foster compliance with the International Health Regulations and other associated legal and regulatory agreements to ensure effective global governance of public health emergencies, and in so doing, encourage international organisations and NGOs to maintain the integrity of international norms, respect for human rights, and social justice. Transparent discussion, sharing, and measurement of global health security capacities is vital for achieving this goal.
- 4Achieving global health security requires individual, group, and systems decision making and activities that strengthens capacity across all levels of societal interaction and disciplines. Making the world a healthier, more equitable, and safer place requires action and engagement from all, including the philanthropic, public and the private sector.
- 5Global health security must embrace a One Health approach, not only to prevent and respond to disease, but also to protect ecosystems that underpin human, animal, and environmental health. All relevant sectors must be meaningfully involved and engaged, including heath, agriculture, environmental, security, and other vital components.
- 6Countries with higher capacity to respond to adverse public health events have a moral and ethical duty to work in partnership with those with lower capacity to strengthen their capabilities in a sustainable manner.
- 7International partners and national governments must commit to sustainable, comprehensive funding mechanisms to support global health security. Long-term strategic thinking for global health security must be supported by a diverse, inclusive community of practice, committed to providing the best evidence possible to inform transparent decision making. Achieving global health security requires commitment to the above principles, and the institutional arrangements that advance them globally, to reduce infectious disease threats, including local empowerment, capacity building, data and benefits sharing, transparency, and accountability. Stronger health systems, Universal Health Coverage, and Health-In-All-Policies, from the local to the global levels are all dependent upon and supportive of global health security.