Following the EU-WHO Strategic Dialogue on Health, that took place between Commissioner Kyriakides and WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Commission and the World Health Organisation have agreed to enhance strategic cooperation in global health security and architecture. They will also cooperate on the implementation of major initiatives, such as the new EU Global Health Strategy presented this week, the European Health Union and WHO priorities for the 2022-2026 period.
The objective is to mutually reinforce the work by both sides across areas of common interest, as called for by the EU Global Health Strategy. This bolsters a strong multilateral system with the WHO at its core, powered by a strong European Union.
Addressing together the challenge of global health security
Many significant elements of global health security will be under discussion in the coming two years. These include the negotiations of a pandemic agreement and of amended International Health Regulations, shaping a permanent pandemics platform, top leadership engagement in global health issues, and financing global health. The Commission and WHO will coordinate closely throughout these discussions to shape an effective multilateral system that considers the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides comprehensive health security for citizens across the world.
Both sides also agreed to cooperate closely in the implementation of the EU’s upcoming regulation on serious cross-border threats to health, which will significantly enhance health security in the Union and link with WHO initiatives in the continent. The extended mandates of the ECDC and EMA provide further opportunities for cooperation with the WHO.
The Commission and the WHO will equally join forces in digital health, developing a broader roadmap of digital collaboration in the beginning of 2023.
To ensure mutual reinforcement across areas of common interest, both sides will review all current projects and joint actions by May 2023, and identifying further areas of collaboration and supporting projects. Both parties will meet in June 2023 to take stock, define the lines of future work, and provide the necessary political impetus.
The new EU Global Health Strategy offers a framework for EU health policies leading up to 2030. It sets policy priorities and guiding principles to shape global health, and it identifies concrete lines of action. It outlines what the Commission will do and what it invites Member States to do, each strictly within their respective competences and institutional roles. The strategy builds on contributions received during a wide public consultation, including input from EU Member States including Presidencies of the Council, the European Parliament, civil society including the 2020 civil society shadow health strategy, and other key stakeholders in Europe and beyond.
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Our citizens expect a step change in global health security, and the new EU Global Health Strategy is our contribution to this process. Combatting health threats effectively requires a strong multilateral governance with a more effective, accountable, and sustainably financed WHO at the centre and where the EU has a seat at the table. Reinforced strategic cooperation and alignment between the Commission and the WHO will be essential to deliver better health for all in a changing world.
A healthier Europe is stronger and more prosperous Europe, and a stronger and more prosperous Europe is a stronger and more prosperous world. We look forward to scaling up our cooperation with the European Union in the years ahead for a healthier, safer and fairer world.