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WHO Director-General's opening remarks at press conference with H.E. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of Germany - 22 February 2021

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Vielen dank, Herr Bundespräsident, for your kind words, and thank you so much for your leadership and partnership.

As His Excellency said, we have just had a very constructive discussion about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and about how we can strengthen the relationship between Germany and WHO even further.

Germany and WHO have had a strong relationship for many years, but that relationship has become even stronger in recent years.

I very much appreciate the leadership of Federal President Steinmeier, Chancellor Merkel and Minister Spahn during the pandemic, and their support for WHO and for global health.

Your support has given us as WHO inspiration and energy. Vielen dank, indeed, thank you so much.

Last year, Germany contributed more than US$600 million to WHO, including more than US$430 million to support the COVID-19 response.

Germany is also the largest donor to the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies, which enables WHO to respond rapidly to emergencies.

Germany was one of the main drivers behind the formation of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator last year, that was designed as an “endgame” to this pandemic, and has continued to be a leading advocate for solidarity and equity in the global response.

We very much appreciate Germany’s announcement of €1.5 billion in funding for the multilateral response to the pandemic, including the ACT Accelerator, at the G7 leaders’ meeting last week.

I also admire that Germany has been learning its own lessons from the pandemic – all of us have to learn from it, this pandemic is unprecedented – and I welcome the announcement by Chancellor Merkel last year that her government will invest 4 billion euros by 2026 in strengthening Germany’s public health capacities.

President Steinmeier and I also had a very good discussion about ways to strengthen WHO and global health security, including the International Treaty on Pandemic Preparedness and Response that has been proposed by Charles Michel, the President of the European Council. I would like to use this opportunity to thank my friend Charlie.

This proposed treaty would provide the framework to strengthen collaboration between nations and people.

We also discussed ongoing plans to establish a WHO centre for public health intelligence and risk analysis in Berlin, which I agreed with Chancellor Merkel last year.

So Your Excellency, vielen dank once again for your leadership and your partnership. We very much appreciate it, and we look forward to continuing to work with Germany very closely in the months and years ahead as we respond to the pandemic and work together for a healthier, safer, fairer world.

Thank you so much. Vielen dank.