[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Global Meningococcal Initiative (GMI) is composed of an international group of scientists, clinicians and public health officials with expertise in meningococcal immunology, epidemiology and prevention. The primary goal of the GMI is the promotion of the global prevention of invasive meningococcal disease through education and research. The GMI members reviewed global meningococcal disease epidemiology, immunization strategies, and research needs. Over the past decade, substantial advances in meningococcal vaccine development have occurred and much has been learned about prevention from countries that have incorporated meningococcal vaccines into their immunization programs. The burden of meningococcal disease is unknown for many parts of the world because of inadequate surveillance, which severely hampers evidence-based immunization policy. As the field of meningococcal vaccine development advances, global surveillance for meningococcal disease needs to be strengthened in many regions of the world. For countries with meningococcal vaccination policies, research on vaccine effectiveness and impact, including indirect effects, is crucial for informing policy decisions. Each country needs to tailor meningococcal vaccination policy according to individual country needs and knowledge of disease burden. Innovative approaches are needed to introduce and sustain meningococcal vaccination programs in resource-poor settings with a high incidence of meningococcal disease.