May 19, 2021, SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Good Health Pass Collaborative urged global leaders to take urgent and coordinated action at next month’s G7 Summit in Cornwall (UK) to ensure that digital health passes can be universally recognized and accepted by airlines and border control agencies.
Recent comments by UK transport minister, Grant Shapps at a meeting of G7 transport ministers, suggest that achieving universal recognition of digital health passes is a top priority for the UK government, which currently holds the G7 presidency. But, while universal acceptance is easy to talk about in concept, the level of technical and operational interoperability required to achieve it will be difficult to achieve in practice without international agreement on standards.
The Collaborative’s letter (please see attached), addressed to the presidents and prime ministers of G7 and guest nations – India, South Africa, and South Korea – and the European Commission, urged leaders to take the following actions:
- Adopt the Good Health Pass Collaborative principles, either in whole or as the basis for a joint statement of principles on digital health passes, to be included in the official Summit communique; and
- Establish a working group, bringing together senior ministerial staff from G7 and G20 health and transport ministries, with the goal of achieving standards harmonization among member nations and the European Union by July 16.
In February, ID2020 announced the launch of the Good Health Pass Collaborative, a multi-sector global initiative to establish principles and standards for digital health passes for international travel.
The Good Health Pass Collaborative is unique in that it is neither developing its own nor promoting any specific technology solution or product. Rather, the Collaborative has brought together more than 120 companies and organizations from across the travel, health, and technology sectors – including all of the major solution providers – in an attempt to dramatically streamline a standards-setting process which, under normal circumstances, might take years or even decades to complete.
Restoring international travel is widely recognized as critical to restarting the global economy. In 2020, travel and tourism contributions to the global GDP decreased by 49.1%, a loss of $4.5 trillion (USD). The economic impact is nearly 18 times greater than that experienced during the 2009 global financial crisis. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that 61.6 million tourism-related jobs worldwide have been lost as a result of the pandemic.
“The need to restore international travel is unquestionably urgent,” said ID2020 executive director, Dakota Gruener. “But, there is a very real risk that digital health passes could fail to deliver the anticipated public health, social, and economic benefits if they are not widely trusted and adopted by the public and universally accepted by airlines and border control agencies. Ensuring that digital health passes adhere to a set of foundational principles – such as privacy, user-control, and inclusivity – will help build that trust and standards will enable systems around the world to work together, thus creating a convenient and seamless experience for travelers, airlines, and border control agencies.”
In February, the Collaborative published its first white paper, entitled Good Health Pass: A Safe Path to Global Reopening, which outlines the principles to which we believe all digital health pass systems must adhere.
Concurrent with the Summit, the Collaborative will release the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint, which will address – in considerable depth and detail – eight key technical and interoperability challenges around which global consensus must be reached.:
- Design principles
- Creating a consistent user experience
- Standard data models and elements
- Credential formats, signatures, and exchange protocols
- Security, privacy, and data protection
- Trust registries
- Rules engines
- Identity binding (ensuring the authenticity of the holder)
A draft version of the Good Health Pass Collaborative Interoperability Blueprint will be released for public comment on May 24.
Digital health passes offer our best hope to safely, confidently, and promptly restore global travel and restart the global economy – if they guided by principles and accompanied by stringent legal guardrails to protect user privacy and other civil liberties. Unprecedented collaboration is urgently needed and the Good Health Pass Collaborative has offered its technical expertise to support international efforts on standards harmonization for digital health passes.
ID2020 is a global public-private partnership that harnesses the collective power of nonprofits, corporations, and governments to promote the adoption and ethical implementation of user-managed, privacy-protecting, and portable digital identity solutions.
By developing and applying rigorous technical standards to certify identity solutions, providing advisory services and implementing programs, and advocating for the ethical implantation of digital ID, ID2020 is strengthening social and economic development globally.
ID2020 Alliance partners are committed to a future in which all of the world’s seven billion people can fully exercise their basic human rights and reap the benefits of economic empowerment and to protecting user privacy and ensuring that data is not commoditized.