Global Health

The G20 Health Working Group (HWG) was established under the German Presidency in 2017 to develop a shared international agenda on issues such as strengthening health-care systems, reducing malnutrition, health-crisis management and scaling up the fight against pandemics. In 2018, the Argentinian Presidency continued the existing work on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Health System Strengthening, and introduced childhood obesity.
The Japanese Presidency 2019 also pursued the AMR workstream with OECD support (Antimicrobial resistance), and focused on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage UHC, on population ageing and management of health risk and health security.
In 2020, the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic largely dominated the work of the HWG. The access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics was at the core of the G20 agenda, as it is under the Italian Presidency 2021. A Health and Finance Ministers meeting was organised by the Saudi Presidency, with OECD support in informing the discussion, to address the intertwined economic and health crisis.
The OECD contributed in 2020 to the work of WHO on the assessment of gaps in pandemic preparedness, and supported also the Saudi Presidency on the following initiatives:


  • The establishment of the Global Innovation Hub for Improving Value in Health transformation towards sustainable health systems, to which the OECD currently participates
  • The establishment of the Digital Health Taskforce to enhance knowledge in specific areas of digital health: currently the OECD supports the Taskforce in the sharing of good practices around the use of digital health tools and to support countries’ response to the pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic phase.
  • Establishment of a Global Patient Safety Leaders Group, with the purpose of bridging implementation gaps through system-level solutions and locally applicable innovative solutions.

The Italian Presidency will also hold a Health and Finance Ministers meeting in 2021, in addition to the Health Ministers’ meeting and the Global Health Summit (which took place on 21 May 2021) co-chaired with the EU.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Considering that countries are facing high and rapidly increasing threats to health and global economic stability related to AMR, G20 Leaders in Hangzhou committed to explore ways to prevent and mitigate AMR by addressing challenges in equitable and affordable access to antimicrobial medicines, promoting the prudent use of antibiotics and by unlocking research and development into new and existing  antimicrobials.

The OECD was requested by the German Presidency to coordinate and prepare, together with WHO, FAO and OIE, a report Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance, Ensuring Sustainable R&D, on potential strategies to tackle AMR and ensure sustainable research and development (R&D) for new antibiotics.

Building on this report and on the mandate from the Hamburg Communiqué, the OECD continued its work to further examine practical market incentive options under the Argentinean Presidency. 

In 2019 and 2020 the OECD pursued its work on market incentives, contributing to the information gathered at the roundtable on economic incentives for addressing AMR hosted by the G20 Saudi Presidency. 

Most Recent OECD Contributions to the G20

Strengthening Health-Care Systems

The Japanese and Argentinean Presidencies continued the G20 efforts on Health System Strengthening, a priority which was prominently featured in the G20 for the first time under the German Presidency. The OECD has been providing useful inputs to the G20 discussion, for example, by showcasing the framework for people-centred health systems developed by the OECD as well as the joint OECD-ILO-WHO programme on Working for Health.

During the Saudi Presidency, the OECD pursued this work through its contribution to the Digital Health workstream as an instrument to strengthen health systems. The OECD is supporting the Italian Presidency to build transformative resilience in the health sector to ensure collaborative and coordinated emergency responses to health threats.