US$ 5M investment will accelerate priority projects of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence to drive global collaboration in genomic surveillance, adoption of data tools for pathogen detection, and assessment of climate-aggravated outbreak threats
GENEVA | May 23, 2023 – The Rockefeller Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO) have announced a new partnership to strengthen the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. As part of the collaboration, the Foundation is investing US$ 5M in partners working with WHO to cultivate global networks for pathogen detection and strengthen pandemic preparedness capabilities, including broadening surveillance for diseases worsened by rising temperatures and extreme weather.
Established in 2021, WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence facilitates a global collaboration of partners from multiple sectors to address future pandemic and epidemic risks with better access to data, better analytical capacities, and better tools and insights for decision-making. The partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will accelerate these efforts with catalytic funding and technical assistance.
“The Covid-19 pandemic underscored that disease surveillance, collaboration between stakeholders, and data sharing were absolutely essential ingredients for health security – and the global community was unprepared,” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, WHO Assistant Director-General and head of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. “With the increasing threats from climate change, we are excited to partner with The Rockefeller Foundation to usher in a new era of global collaboration in pandemic intelligence.”
The Rockefeller Foundation will support projects under the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence’s stewardship, including:
- Scaling global capacity for genomic surveillance through the newly launched International Pathogen Surveillance Network.
- Developing a digital platform in partnership with Data.org, to enable real-time communication and collaboration between public health analysts and researchers across the globe to scale evidence-based, field-tested epidemic tools.
- Developing user-centered product strategies for existing WHO epidemic intelligence solutions to better support global public health agencies.
- Improving outbreak detection through the Global.health data science initiative, in partnership with the University of Oxford and Boston Children’s Hospital, among others.
“Climate change is increasing both the risk of another global pandemic and the need to collaborate and share data,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Fortunately, the WHO Pandemic Hub is already making us smarter and safer by helping track threats, find solutions, and connect countries and continents. We’re proud to partner with the Hub to expand its focus on preventing pandemics fueled by climate change.”
The announcement builds on The Rockefeller Foundation’s 75-year history of collaboration with WHO – including US$ 27M in grants over the last two decades – and its legacy of support for global pandemic preparedness and response. In October 2020, the Foundation announced a US$ 1B investment to catalyze a more inclusive, green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In January 2022, The Rockefeller Foundation was admitted as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO.
The Rockefeller Foundation launched the partnership with the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence on May 23, 2023, at the sidelines of the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.