American leadership is essential for advancing global health security and for ensuring that all countries are prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to threats posed by infectious diseases. But America can’t do it alone, and the time for action is now. It’s up to all countries to do their part and help their neighbors. That’s why we launched the Global Health Security Agenda in 2014 – to empower the global community to step up, bolstered by American leadership, and secure a world that is safe from epidemic threats. Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order to further advance the Global Health Security Agenda.
Already, we’ve seen historic success: Working with partners in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and from around the world, we led the way in ending the Ebola epidemic in West Africa – and we are leading the way on the Zika response here at home. Fifty-five countries, as well as stakeholders from across nongovernmental and private sectors and next generation leaders in global health security have signed on to the Agenda. The effort has resulted in commitments from G-7, Nordic, and key G-20 partners to assist at least 76 countries and regions that will make a real difference in communities around the world. The Global Health Security Agenda has also led to the creation of a new way to identify gaps through external evaluation, which 22 countries – including the United States – have now undergone. As part of our own commitment to this Agenda, the United States is partnering with 31 countries and the Caribbean Community to provide assistance to create, for the first time, a step-by-step plan to get prepared.
The Executive Order signed today builds on this progress by establishing long-term policy objectives and memorializing a comprehensive framework for the United States to continue, strengthen, and institutionalize our achievements and use common targets to measure progress. The Executive Order will save lives by further leveraging the full power and leadership of the United States Government and is an important step toward a safer, more resilient future.