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WHO and EC expand strategic plans to deliver better health security

The World Health Organization (WHO) and European Commission (EC) have announced an agreement to reinforce strategic cooperation in health security worldwide and architecture.

This follows on from the EU-WHO Strategic Dialogue on Health that recently took place between Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, and Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health and food safety.

The partnership have also committed to working together on the implementation of key initiatives, including the new European Union’s Global Health Strategy – started at the end of November – alongside the European Health Union and the WHO priorities spanning 2022-2026.

As part of the agreement, the partners aim to mutually bolster their operations covering areas of common interest, as called by the EU Global Health Strategy, which offers a framework for EU health policies leading up to 2030. The agreement underscores its plans for a multilateral system, centralising WHO, while being powered by the strength of the EU.

Both the EC and WHO are focused on working in tandem throughout the meetings in order to mould an effective system, that takes into consideration health security for the public globally, alongside implementing learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next two years, key issues regarding global health security will be discussed, including the ongoing negotiations of a future pandemic treaty and of amended International Health regulations.

In addition to this, plans to shape a permanent pandemics platform will be on the table, as well as discussions surrounding top leadership engagement in global health issues and measures for financing global health.

Commenting on the plans, Kyriakides, said: “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.”

Cross-border threats to health and digital health are also outlined in the other part of the collaboration, as a means of ensuring shared reinforcement across areas of common interest. To that end, both sides will review all current joint projects and plans by May 2023 and then identify further areas of collaboration and specific schemes to back.

In June 2023, the EC and WHO will reconvene and reevaluate its projects, while defining the lines of future collaborations and offering the political process when required.

“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 EU in the years ahead for a healthier, safer and fairer world,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus.



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