This Statement has been created by the Science Academies of the Group of Seven (G7) nations. It represents the Academies’ view on the need for the G7 countries to realise a better level of ‘data readiness’ for future health emergencies

Data is the currency for exchanging information, building knowledge and driving action in health. Amid the disastrous loss of health and life to Covid-19, people around the world have engaged with data and information more intensively than ever. As the pandemic is brought under control, the G7 should champion the cause of establishing health data as a global public good. To achieve this, the nations of the G7 and beyond should work together to: adopt principle-based governance systems for securing safe sharing and use of data for health emergencies; build and implement the operational systems, infrastructures and technologies for implementing a principle-based and privacy-preserving approach to equitable use of data for health emergencies; and foster the skills and capabilities at all levels – from the general public to health professionals – needed for trusted and accurate use of data.

There is an opportunity now to learn from international responses to Covid-19, and the G7 should capture this moment to help build a trustworthy and trusted international data system for health emergencies. The Governments of the G7 should establish a commission on data for health emergencies to agree on how to achieve this. The initial aim of this commission could be to identify procedures for data sharing that were used in response to Covid-19, which might be adopted for longer-term use in G7 and other nations. The commission should involve meaningful public dialogue to build trusted systems that can support the global health beyond the G7, and beyond health emergencies.