Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Published on 7 February 2022

The Joint Conference of Foreign Ministers and Health Ministers will take place in Lyon, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, on 9 February 2022. This conference, in an unprecedented format, aims to further develop Europe’s foreign policy on health.

It will be an opportunity for the Foreign and Health Ministers to discuss the organisation of the European Union to address the pandemic, in particular purchases and donations of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, production capacities and health system strengthening.

The Ministers will discuss the major contribution of the European Union and its Member States to global health, as the leading global official development assistance donors in the health field and supporters of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNITAID.

At a time when the European Union’s role in the health field has been further strengthened in the context of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union is keen for the Member States to be in contact with European institutions and major multilateral partners on how the European Union can contribute to strengthening global health, with four priorities:

Greater support to low- and middle-income countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Ministers will take stock of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and European coordination in international health solidarity. In particular, they will discuss means of consolidating the role of the European Union and its Member States in strengthening health systems and health security in low- and middle-income countries, including through technology transfers and actions to build production capacities. These discussions will also prepare the European Union-African Union Summit which will be held on 17 and 18 February 2022.

An enhanced European global health strategy

The Ministers will work to consolidate a shared European vision for global health and to identify opportunities for change in order to better defend shared European public health goals and values. Public health has become a key soft power field on the international stage.

This vision should take into account the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU’s Strategic Compass, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A consolidated multilateral health architecture built around a strengthened WHO

The Ministers will discuss the proposed International Treaty on Pandemics aimed at strengthening international prevention, preparation and response capacities, as well as the overhaul of the International Health Regulations (IHR), the cornerstone of the international health security system, in order to learn the lessons of the pandemic.

They will also discuss the One Health approach, which involves combining the expertise of specialists in human, animal and ecosystem health, embodied by several international initiatives such as the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as the “PREZODE” initiative aimed at preventing the emergence of pandemics and animal diseases that are transmissible to humans.

Reaffirmed attractiveness of European Union expertise

The Ministers will discuss European expertise and the strengths of territories in Member States that are home to many key institutions in global health, like Lyon, which hosts the offices of the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the WHO Academy, and where the Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was held in 2019, raising $14 billion.

Other places in the European Union also highlight our continent’s attractiveness in this field. This meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss these territories and ways to strengthen such European centres of excellence, as well as synergies to develop between them.

Source – French EU Presidency

Forward to your friends