As part of the 2020 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the two countries have agreed on an AUSMIN Global Health Security Statement, which commits them to strengthening their health cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in 2020 and beyond.
Together, Australia and the United States have committed to helping build Indo-Pacific partner capacity in biosecurity, biosafety and bio-surveillance to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and reduce the risk of future pandemics.
The two nations said they will work with countries in the region to improve hygiene conditions, and mitigate zoonotic disease and pandemic risks associated with wildlife wet markets. They will also work to strengthen public health emergency operations centres in selected partner countries, such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, said the partnership between the two countries plays a significant role in improving and advancing health security across the Indo-Pacific region.
The Statement, which has been developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the United States Department of State, builds on Australia’s Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region, and the United States’ Global Health Security Strategy.
Australia and the United States will continue to work with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to accelerate the development and distribution of vaccines, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to improve vaccine access in the world’s poorest countries.
In addition to the immense health and social impact, the IMF has projected that the COVID-19 pandemic will cost the world US$9 trillion dollars over the next two years. Australia will remain committed to participation in regional and global health forums, including with the United States.
Minister Payne said that more than ever before, both Australia and the United States recognise the need for concrete action and leadership to support global health security in our region.
The full text of the statement can be found here.