The Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
The Ministers of Health of the Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) Initiative comprising Brazil, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and France, or their representatives, met today on the sidelines of the 65th World Health Assembly (65th WHA). They acknowledged the WHO as the coordinating and directing authority on global health, and called for a stronger strategic focus on health on the international agenda.
The Ministers congratulated Dr. Chan on her nomination as Director-General of the World Health Organization for a second term and expressed their appreciation for her commitment and leadership and for the attention she has given to the Initiative on Foreign Policy and Global Health since its creation.
The Ministers committed to accelerate both individual and collective efforts to pursue the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular aiming towards reducing child mortality (MDG4), improving maternal health (MDG5) and combating HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (MDG6). The recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health on institutional arrangements to strengthen national and global accountability processes both with regard to resources as well as monitoring of results contribute to strengthening our efforts in this regard.
The Ministers expressed their determination in engaging in the discussion on development goals beyond 2015 at the WHA and emphasized that despite progress made in some areas, further work is required to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality as well as to fight communicable diseases. At the same time, new global challenges such as the effects of climate change, natural disasters, conflicts, migration, financial crises and non communicable diseases, which will affect all countries regardless of their level of development need to be addressed. Health outcomes are closely linked with and must be addressed in connection with food security, nutrition, energy, clean air and safe drinking water.
The Ministers welcomed the growing global support to universal health coverage as a fundamental tool to the achievement of more equitable health outcomes and sustainable development. In this regard, they reiterated the readiness to support the discussion on universal health coverage at a forthcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly, in line with resolution WHA64.9.
The Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health adopted by the WHO Conference on Social Determinants of Health in October 2011, as well as the Bangkok Statement on Universal Health Coverage adopted in January 2012 and the Mexico City Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage adopted in April 2012, among other intergovernmental documents and initiatives, have built a common understanding of the need for a comprehensive and intersectoral approach to ensure the progressive realization of the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Rio+20 Declaration is a key opportunity for the international community, not only to reaffirm the direct linkage between health and the three pillars of sustainable development, encompassing its social, economic and environmental dimensions, but also to underline the relevance of universal health coverage in achieving sustainable development. We must keep in mind that universal access to quality health services, including prevention, care and treatment, and medical products, without risking impoverishment through out-of-pocket payments, is a necessary condition to achieve sustainable and equitable socio-economic development. Recognizing the importance of nationally-designed social protection floors,
as well as resilient and responsive health care systems, is therefore a core
requirement for the social pillar of sustainable development.
The Ministers welcomed the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination “Research and development to meet health needs in developing countries: strengthening global financing and coordination”. They expressed their intention to examine the recommendations objectively and to identify the most appropriate way forward.
The Ministers stressed the importance of implementing the Framework on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness for Sharing of Influenza Viruses and Access to Vaccines and Other Benefits and expressed their expectation that the Framework will contribute to a more coordinated, comprehensive and equitable response to future pandemics.
The Ministers recognized that more evidence on the impact of foreign
policy on health is needed. The Ministers welcomed the collaborative project of the Independent Academic Commission on Global Governance for Health, currently led by researchers from academic institutions from the seven countries, which aims at raising awareness on both opportunities and limits of current global health governance processes in addressing global health threats.
The 65th WHA will be an important stage in the reform process of the WHO. The Ministers recognized the necessity of strengthening the Organization, its transparency and accountability, in order to provide evidence-based guidance for decision-making and to fulfill its constitutional mandate in the interest of all Member States. The Ministers also underscored that the reform process and its implementation should be fully transparent and inclusive. The Ministers concurred that the reform should aim at consolidating WHO as the leading authority in global health readily prepared and able to face evolving challenges efficiently.