The G20 leaders have issued a joint declaration promoting a global standard on proof of vaccination for international travel and calling for the establishment of “global digital health networks” that build on existing digital COVID-19 vaccine passport schemes for future pandemic response following recommendations from the B20 Summit.
The declaration comes after the Business 20 (B20) Summit in Bali, where Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin called for a “digital health certificate using WHO standards,” the Group of Twenty (G20) called for international collaboration to capitalize on the success of “digital COVID-19 certificates” for future pandemic response, according to The Sociable.
“We support […] efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics that should capitalize and build on the success of the existing standards and digital COVID-19 certificates” — G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration, 2022
“We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods, under the framework of the IHR (2005), to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognizing digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations,” reads paragraph 23 of the G20 declaration.
The G-20 leaders said they support ongoing “international dialogue and collaboration on the establishment of trusted global digital health networks as part of the efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics.”
They added that these global digital health networks should “capitalize and build on the success of the existing standards and digital COVID-19 certificates.”
For many, COVID-19 vaccine passports, and various other forms of digital identity schemes, represent an invasion of privacy and a slippery slope that ends in complete control of the government.
“We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods […] to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognizing digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccination”
According to the World Economic Forum, “Having a trusted, verifiable identity is essential. As digital interaction increases at unprecedented rate, not least due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information comprising our identities is being widely shared in ways that create both opportunities and risks. If designed right, digital identities can provide countries with economic value equal to as much as 13% of their GDP, save hundreds of billions of hours through streamlined e-government, and cut trillions of dollars in costs for businesses by 2030, according to one estimate. For the roughly one billion people going without official proof of identity (and the more than three billion people unable to effectively use an identity on digital channels), collaborative and user-centric digital identity models guided by shared principles can be empowering.”
The joint declaration follows recommendations from Indonesia’s Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin made during a Business 20 (B20) panel held ahead of the G-20 summit.
“Let’s have a digital health certificate acknowledged by WHO—if you have been vaccinated or tested properly—then you can move around,” he said during a panel on Nov. 14.
“So for the next pandemic, instead of stopping the movement of the people 100 percent, which stopped the economy globally, you can still provide some movement of the people,” he added.
In separate but similar document, the G20 issued an update that adds:
“Endeavour to move towards interoperability of systems including mechanisms that validate proof of vaccination, whilst respecting the sovereignty of national health policies, and relevant national regulations such as personal data protection and data-sharing.”
According to the 132-page B20 Indonesia 2022 Final Communique: Policy Recommendations to the G20, member countries should “Promote further exchanges and strategic use and sharing of science, technology, and appropriate data for crisis detection, creating global coordination framework for future crisis mitigation.”
Those policy recommendations include, but are not limited to:
• Foster innovation, investment and technology sharing within and across borders in both crisis and noncrisis times
• Create a crisis management committee that can commit to an open and frictionless flow of critical goods
during future crises
• Create robust guidelines on health emergency preparedness to ensure global coordinated response for
future crises enhanced by a technology-enabled “always-on” global health infrastructure
• Align on a global framework to promote and restore safe international travel
• Implement and extend the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccines
• Adopt the Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates
• Establish a uniform platform for skilling, re-skilling, and upskilling focusing on trade and investment skills