Item 14.8: Ebola virus disease outbreak

Last updated: 10.06.2016 //                             

Thank you Chair.

The Ebola crises uncovered grave deficiencies in our ability to respond to and contain epidemic outbreaks at an early stage to prevent humanitarian crises.

Together with Germany and Ghana, Norway took the Initiative to undertake a high-level independent assessment of the Ebola crisis, under the auspices of UN Secretary General. The report, which was published in February, recommend a broad set of actions including the need for strengthening R&D.

We are delighted to see that the R&D recommendations are being further elaborated through the R&D Blueprint process and commend WHO’s convening role on R&D during the Ebola outbreak.

It is clear that the world needs a new international financing mechanism to coordinate an accelerated effort to develop new vaccines and diagnostic tools to contain outbreaks and prevent pandemics. 

Norway is part of an emerging coalition who is aiming to develop such a mechanism which will finance R&D for pathogens where no market for biomedical countermeasures exists, or is insufficient for commercially driven R&D.

Such a mechanism must build on the normative guidance of the WHO, and the R&D Blueprint, and it must include all relevant stakeholders, including vaccine producers.

Such a mechanism should ensure a basic level of manufacturing capacity in order to facilitate rapid scale-up in the event of an outbreak, as well as responsive R&D capacities for new or unknown pathogens.

As has also been emphasized in all reviews, including the High-Level Panel, the R&D effort must be seen as additional to other efforts required both nationally and internationally to prevent outbreak.

Finally, Norway welcomes the progress report and will be a committed partner in the process ahead.