How will we deal with the next pandemic?

While most of the world is still grappling with COVID, some countries — mostly wealthy ones with early access to vaccines — are thinking about preparing for the next pandemic. This sentiment ties into a wider debate about health security that was missing when the virus hit us all early last year.

Indeed, we should aspire to ensure the health security of our population instead of waiting for it to get sick, Flagship Pioneering CEO Noubar Afeyan said on June 9, during a live discussion, Stronger Partnerships for a Healthier World: Mutually Assured Protection — the second in GZERO Media's two-part discussion, Beyond the Pandemic: A Radical New Approach to Health Security, presented in partnership with Flagship Pioneering.

That'll only be possible with a level of global cooperation that remains absent even during the current pandemic, noted Eurasia Group and GZERO Media President Ian Bremmer. Right now, we seem to have learned nothing from COVID, he explained, citing the example of the US, which is more interested in investing on the tech that's on your smartphone to compete with China than in a system to help keep Americans safe from the next virus.

Also, it's too early to really talk about a global recovery when COVID is still ravaging so many parts of the world. For IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, "a two-track pandemic means a two-track recovery" which will hold the entire planet back for years. She called for all countries to focus on vaccines as the cornerstone of their economic policies, and for rich nations to realize that helping poor ones recover is in their economic interest.

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said that this week's G7 meeting comes at the perfect time for the world's wealthiest democracies, alongside a few like-minded friends, to make strong commitments on procuring vaccines for low-income nations and donating those they don't need right now. That's fine, but "don't commit to what you cannot achieve," remarked Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor at the University of Global Health Equity, who called out rich countries and multilateral organizations like the IMF for often not walking the talk on their pledges to the developing world.

Meanwhile, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel underscored that his goal is to end the pandemic in 2022, not later, and the best hope for that to happen is for governments to help vaccine makers get hold of scarce raw materials instead of demanding patent waivers. It was capital markets and not governments, he added, that Moderna got the money from to conduct the research into mRNA technology to develop COVID jabs in record time.

Other key moments of the program:

  • US Navy Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) on the importance of using military forces to deploy soft power, for instance on vaccine distribution logistics.
  • President of Global Policy & Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gargee Ghosh on how even enemy governments can collaborate on health, like the US and the Soviet Union did on a smallpox vaccine at the height of the Cold War.
  • Geoff Martha, chairman and CEO of Medtronic, on whether or not we should nationalize certain parts of global supply chains to better deal with the next public health crisis.
  • Procter & Gamble President of Global Home Care Sundar Raman on how experience in corporate partnerships applies to health security.
  • Junaid Bajwa, chief medical scientist at Microsoft, on the looming shortage of doctors and other medical professionals that'll severely impact our capacity to respond to a public health crisis like a pandemic 10 years from now.
  • Nestlé Health Service CEO Greg Behar on why we need a three-pronged — regulatory, government, and tech — proactive approach on health security partnerships.
  • Amitabh Chandra, Director of Health Policy Research at the Harvard Kennedy School, on imagining a "parallel universe" in which Pfizer and Moderna had started developing COVID vaccines when the pandemic started, and why vaccine patent waivers are a "death sentence."

The first day of the series on June 8, Beyond the Pandemic: A Radical New Approach to Health Security, discussed what we could learn from COVID to prevent the next pandemic.

Learning from COVID to Prevent the Next Pandemic | GZERO Media Live

This 2-day event was produced by GZERO Media in partnership with Flagship Pioneering. We thank our event partners, Partnership for a Healthier America and Medtronic.

Eni is helping to bring stable energy sources to the communities of Ghana. This means vaccines for children can now be safely stored, businesses can operate more efficiently, and the economy, as a whole, is strengthened and improved.

Watch to learn how Eni helps businesses grow and build for the future.

This week, the US Senate passed the so-called Endless Frontier Act, a $250 billion investment in development of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the manufacture of semiconductors, and other tech-related sectors. The goal is to harness the combined power of America's public and private sectors to meet the tech challenges posed by China.

In its current form, this is the biggest diversion of public funds into the private sector to achieve strategic goals in many decades. The details of this package, and of the Senate vote, say a lot about US foreign-policy priorities and this bill's chances of becoming law.

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What do America's policies around the world mean for jobs, the economy, and the future of the country's future? This Tuesday, June 15. at 11 am ET, GZERO Media presents a a live discussion on trade, immigration, and how domestic issues like racism and deep partisan divides impact America's standing in the world. Our event, which is sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York, is free and open to the public. Please register to attend.

Judy Woodruff, anchor of the PBS NewsHour, will moderate the conversation with:

  • Donna Edwards, Member of Congress (2008-2017)
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
  • Miriam Sapiro, Managing Director, Sard Verbinnen & Co. (SVC) and Former Acting and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
  • Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Advisor, New America

Special appearance by Governor Thomas H. Kean, Chairman of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 | 11 am - 12:30 pm ET

Register to attend

Add to Calendar

Listen: Is there a path to democracy for Europe's last dictatorship, Belarus? Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses her hopes and fears for the country with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World Podcast. President Alexander Lukashenko has maintained a tight grip on power in Belarus for the last 26 years and rigged the results of his last election which led to widespread protest and unrest in his country, though few consequences globally. But will he now be held accountable after diverting a flight between two European capitals to arrest a dissident journalist? And just how close are he and Vladimir Putin?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Nigeria's federal government earlier this month blocked Twitter from the country's mobile networks, after the social media company deleted a controversial post from President Muhammadu Buhari's account. The move by Africa's largest and most populous economy comes as many governments around the world are putting increased pressure on social media companies, with serious implications for free speech.

So what actually happened in Nigeria, and how does it fit in with broader trends on censorship and social media regulation? Eurasia Group analysts Amaka Anku and Tochi Eni-Kalu explain.

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

What's the significance of the US-China bill, competition bill that passed the Senate earlier this week?

Well, the bill is a major investment in American technology, research and development, semiconductor manufacturing, and it's designed to push back on the China Made in 2025 push that lawmakers have become increasingly worried about in recent years. The opinion in Washington has shifted from seeing China as a strategic competitor to a strategic rival. And you're seeing what's now likely to be one of the only bipartisan bills in Congress now pushing back on that. Significant money for semiconductors in this bill, even though some of it was set aside for automotive purposes. That money's not going to come online fast enough to really make a difference to the current global semiconductor shortage, but it will help build up US long-term spending capacity and manufacturing capacity in semiconductors.

Other aspects of the bill, banned the application TikTok from going on government devices out of security concerns, created new sanctions authorities around Xinjiang and Hong Kong for human rights abuses, and mandated a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, which is probably going to happen anyway once the Biden administration is able to align with its allies. Let the athletes play. Don't let any high level delegations go. This is probably the only bipartisan bill to happen this year, yet still, half of Senate Republicans voted against it because they were opposed to the kind of industrial policy they think this represents, but it does show the area where there's bipartisan agreement in a city that's very, very divided right now. China is the bad guy and Congress is moving in that direction.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What do you expect from President Biden's first European trip since taking office?

Well, first, it will be sort of reconnecting with Europe, reconnecting with the European Union, with NATO, with the partners in the G7, and going really from the initial message, which was, "we are back," to a more concrete message, "here is what we could potentially do together." That is the expectations. And let's see how it turns out.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

When President Biden and President Putin meet, will cybersecurity will be a key issue that they discuss?

Now, I'm sure that there will be many thorny issues on the table. But after American fingers pointed to Russia and hold it responsible for the SolarWinds hack, it's likely. Criminals in Russia were also not hindered when they held the Colonial Pipeline Company ransom through a ransomware attack. And really, when journalists and opposition leaders cannot speak a single critical word without being caught, how come cybercriminals can act with impunity in Russia? So the need for prevention and accountability really is significant. And I hope the President Biden can push and persuade Putin to change the confrontational and aggressive course that he is on.

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Watch "Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans" live on Tuesday, June 15 |  11 AM – 12:30 pm ET


Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Watch "Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans" live on Tuesday, June 15 |  11 AM – 12:30 pm ET


Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal