SEC(2010) 380 final
Accompanying document to the COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
This Commission Staff Working Document is intended to complement the Communication on the EU role in Global Health by describing in further detail those policy areas and actions impinging on global health where the EU is already active. Four main drivers of change and trends are identified and need to be addressed in the coming years, namely globalisation, changing society, confidence and governance.
Strengthening the EU's voice in global health is a key principle underlying the EU Health Strategy 2008 - 2013, it is therefore necessary that work takes place at a strategic and global level, using a cross-sectoral strategy that ensures coherence of relevant EU internal and external actions related to global health and developing new partnerships and approaches as appropriate. The expected benefits to citizens in the EU and globally include a more efficient and targeted use of public resources to save lives and improve health, a democratic and inclusive governance and better coherence among actors and across policies in the area of health as well as increased health security for them in the broader global context.
The Commission Communication and related working documents are intended to contribute to international discussions in this area - an area currently suffering from fragmentation and lack of leadership. This should also enhance EU visibility, presence, status and influence on the world stage.
1. THE GLOBAL STATE OF PLAY IN HEALTH - WHAT CHANGE IS NEEDED AND WHY?
Globalisation and changes in societies around the world are altering the global health landscape to the point where the existing governance and framework is no longer sufficient to ensure the confidence of citizens in their future health and wellbeing.
The shortcomings of the now-outdated view of global health as a purely development issue was highlighted over the last decade by SARS and the threat of pandemic influenza, and even more recently with the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. Over the past 15 years, decisions had to be made about how to react to cholera in Zimbabwe, plague in India, Ebola in Zaire, mad cow disease in Europe, anthrax in the United States, AIDS throughout the world and the annual waves of influenza, among others. Therefore, when it comes to public health preparedness the EU must think global and not local. And for that reason EU policies and views on global health should always be up to date. Diseases and their causes do not respect political borders, and health cannot be dealt within a European vacuum.
A lack of global leadership and uneven levels of national commitment and aligned cooperation has fragmented the field, bringing in a variety of new actors, mechanisms and agendas that the existing framework has difficulty adjusting to. Thus public health can no longer be pursued just at the national level. It needs renewed global institutions, mechanisms and funding for security, development and global public goods.
The health sector can no longer deal with emerging challenges on its own. It needs multisectoral action and broad public and private partnerships at national and international levels. Neither can health still be seen as a purely professional and technical endeavour; it needs the strong voice and support of civil society and of political leaders to address the issues at stake. The financial and workforce-related pressures on health systems to deliver quality care to ageing populations are also universal, and can only be addressed with better international collaboration.