Hope in Our Connectedness

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Dear partners, dear friends:

As 2022 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on what we have learned from this year,  what lessons we can take forward into 2023 and what I’m thankful for. 

The era of the polycrisis is with us, and it’s seemingly here to stay. This has implications for all of us — how we work together, how we find balance in our lives, and how we find hope amid the torrent of bad news. Three themes have emerged over the course of the year that are giving me hope.

First, we have learned that everything is connected. The year started with the invasion of Ukraine sucking political attention away from the pandemic and other urgent issues. At the year’s end, it is easier to see that circumstances created by the pandemic’s impact provided the fertile territory from which conflict germinated — and the ongoing pandemic and its impact, conflict, food, energy, economic, and climate crises have prompted recognition that these challenges are all intertwined. Working in silos is the past and networked advocacy across issues is the future. The increasingly unified efforts to push for progress around finance, climate, health, R&D and beyond, and the Network’s increasing role across these areas gives me hope that we are collectively starting to organize for the future.

Second, we’re going from stop-gap to structural solutions. We started the year still scrambling to find vaccines, tests and treatments to be “given to” or “bought for” those that needed them. At the year’s end, the calls for real equity from the International Conference on Public Health in Africa, hosted in Kigali, confirmed that if 2022 was the year in which the charity model’s time was up, 2023 is the year that we will tackle the root causes of the structural inequities in our systems at local, regional and global levels. The time is now! Pandemic Action Network’s Africa Director Aggrey Aluso and WACI Health’s Rosemary Mburu called out this urgent message as the conference kicked off. That these calls are being heard through the noise, gives me hope.

Third, it’s clear that partnerships lead to progress. In 2022, we saw the results of our collective action: a dedicated Pandemic Fund — with civil society at the table — finance raised for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response policies across the regions of the world, including reaching the halfway fundraising point for financing of CEPI’s 100 Days Mission, reinforced regional infrastructure such as the Africa CDC, the unleashing of tens of billions through special drawing rights, a UN High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention Preparedness, and Response on the books for 2023, mainstreamed support for an African Union seat at the G20, and the idea of global public investment fast gaining traction. The progress we have made across these areas is down to you, our partners. Week after week, month after month, event to event, together we are continuing to learn, navigate, and — most importantly — act on political twists and turns to hold leaders accountable.

With an India-led G20, Japan-led G7, a UN High-Level Meeting focused on pandemics, and the next climate COP on the horizon for 2023, now is not the time to step back, but to step up and strengthen our collective voices to demand change.

As we close out another year, on behalf of our global Pandemic Action Network team to all of our partners around the world and across sectors, I say a huge THANK YOU. 

Thank you for being generous with your expertise, intelligence, resources, influence, and precious time.

Thank you for connecting the dots with other connected crises including finance, inequality, climate, health systems, gender, biodiversity, and beyond.

And thank you for staying in the fight with us, across time zones. 

Together, let’s make 2023 the year that we work together to unleash the finance needed, the policy changes required, and the political leadership necessary to deliver on our connected challenges in this era of intersecting crises, including pandemic threats.

Before that, it’s important that we all take time to recharge and to prepare for what we must achieve in 2023. Preparedness, after all, starts with each and every one of us. I wish you and yours a safe, healthy, and joyous holiday season. 

With hope,