Statement from the Commission Co-Chairs

His Excellency José Manuel Barroso
His Excellency José Manuel Barroso

Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; President of the European Commission (2004-14)

The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull
The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull

29th Prime Minister of Australia (2015-18)

Professor Michelle A. Williams
Professor Michelle A. Williams

Dean of Harvard TH Chan School for Public Health

COVID-19 has revealed that the world was unprepared for a pandemic. We had every reason to anticipate a pandemic but neglected to adequately invest in developing and maintaining global health systems resilience.

Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a wake-up call to global leaders every bit as significant—and urgent—as the ongoing climate emergency and the Global Financial Crisis of more than a decade ago. They are linked. The pandemic, the climate emergency, and the Global Financial Crisis are all crises of resilience, testing our ability to adapt and thrive.

This independent Commission brings together global political and business leadership from across the fields of health, environment, economics, and finance to help inform the policy “reset” that the current pandemic has rightly triggered.

We are making specific recommendations in three key areas:

  1. Urgent prioritization of global equitable access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. At present, COVAX is the only truly multilateral effort for global vaccination against COVID-19. There are billions of doses available in the world, but we need urgent international cooperation across sectors, including public and private, to get them to the countries and communities most in need.
  2. Urgent prioritization of developing and sustaining over time multilateral engagement in global health security, disease surveillance infrastructure, workforce, and programs to identify and address new and re-emerging disease threats.
  3. Commitment to rebuilding economic, health, and social systems that are resilient, equitable, and environmentally sustainable.

International cooperation and multisectoral coalitions are needed to tackle the twin challenges posed by pandemics and climate change.

This won’t just happen. It needs leadership—from those in government, business, and the science of healthier and cleaner growth.

This Commission has been created to shape the new models, metrics, and practical policy reforms to help public and private sector leaders deliver healthier and cleaner growth.


Note: This statement was issued in June 2021 and reissued with editorial changes in October 2021.