Recommendations from the expert workshop on Citizen Engagement in EU Research & Innovation Agenda Setting

The European Commission invited societal engagement experts to a one day workshop on how best to involve citizens in R&I agenda setting for the implementation of Horizon Europe. The group strongly supports European Commission’s intention to co-create and co-design the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Robust societal engagement is vital to ensuring Research and Innovation (R&I) aligns with the needs, values and expectations of citizens.

The group has drafted a statement on societal engagement and considers the following recommendations key to maximising the potential for societal engagement in the programme:

  • No one size fits all but all sizes exist, proven methodologies for co-creation processes already exist and should be used.
  • Clarify objectives and roles in the co-creation process, in particular through a typology of civil society organisations.
  • Ensure meaningful engagement through robust and structured participatory methods such as citizens conventions and CSO forums, recognising the vital role of societal engagement in addressing societal challenges and maximising the societal impact of R&I.
  • Embed a consistent approach on societal engagement throughout Horizon Europe by developing a clear roadmap for how an agenda of co-creation will be embedded from start to finish.
  • Build a lighthouse for engagement in Horizon Europe through the continuation of a Science With and For Society programme.
  • Overall approach: top down communication approaches should be replaced with societal engagement approaches.

Lutte contre les grandes pandémies : les populations vulnérables sacrifiées

A Paris, le 11 janvier 2019 – Les objectifs financiers annoncés aujourd’hui par la France et le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme ne correspondent pas aux investissements préconisés par l’ONU pour mettre fin aux trois pandémies d’ici à 2030. Les associations dénoncent un manque de courage politique de la part du chef de l’Etat dont les conséquences seront dramatiques pour les personnes concernées par ces trois pandémies.

Alors que la 6ème Conférence de reconstitution du Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme se tiendra à Lyon le 10 octobre 2019, la cible financière vient d’être annoncée : 14 milliards de dollars seront demandés aux Etats pour combattre les pandémies les plus meurtrières sur les trois prochaines années. Seulement un milliard de plus qu’il y a trois ans.

Cela reste insuffisant au regard des besoins qu’il reste à financer. Selon les experts indépendants du Global Fund Advocates Network, de 16,8 à 18 milliards de dollars devraient être investis via le Fonds mondial, sur la période 2020-2022, pour atteindre les objectifs d’éradication des trois pandémies d’ici à 2030, fixés par les Nations Unies

L’ensemble des pays s’est engagé à mettre fin aux trois pires épidémies planétaires en misant sur un diagnostic et un accès au traitement pour tous-tes. Cela implique un doublement des financements disponibles – sans commune mesure avec les 8% d’augmentation qui viennent d’être fixés pour le Fonds mondial.

Pour nos associations, les bailleurs internationaux viennent de condamner le Fonds mondial à faire du sur-place pendant les trois prochaines années, tandis que les pandémies repartiront de plus belle. Dans les années 70, le manque d’investissement dans la lutte contre le paludisme avait ainsi causé une importante résurgence de la maladie. Selon les projections de l’ONUSIDA, un retard de 5 ans dans la réalisation des objectifs de 2020 provoquerait un surplus d’infections à VIH de 2,1 millions et 1 million de morts supplémentaires entre 2017 et 2030 dans les 10 pays les plus touchés par l’épidémie. Si les efforts engagés pour lutter contre la tuberculose se poursuivent au même rythme, 28 millions de personnes mourront de cette maladie d’ici à 2030, ce qui représenterait un coût supplémentaire de 983 milliards de dollars.

Nous dénonçons l’abandon scandaleux de millions de malades et de personnes vulnérables à ces maladies dévastatrices. Cette vision est tristement court-termiste, car en sous-investissant maintenant dans le contrôle de ces épidémies , ces dernières vont exploser et coûter bien plus cher d’ici quelques années.

Access to research & innovation at risk in the next EU research programme

12 December 2018

Civil society organisations working on access to medicines have published a reaction to the European Parliament’s position on Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation framework programme.

The Parliament’s own report on Horizon 2020 and FP9, which stressed the “need for sufficient transparency, traceability and a fair level of public return on investment… in terms of affordability, availability and the suitability of end products, and particularly in some sensitive areas such as health, safeguarding the public interest and equitable social impact”. However, we find that the European Parliament has failed to champion its own recommendations to ensure public return on public investment for publicly funded R&I that could address public health needs, and has weakened some key commitments.

We note with concern that open access has been undermined by the European Parliament; access principles will not be applied to biomedical R&I; transparency and traceability of public funding have not been ensured; measures to encourage socially responsible licensing were not supported; and the link between the definition of societal impact and the SDGs remains weak.

Jill McArdle, EU Advocacy Officer at Global Health Advocates, said:

“We are disappointed that the Parliament did not ensure that the considerable public investment that is Horizon Europe will deliver return and benefits for society. It has taken a worrying step back on open access and declined to promote further access to the results of biomedical R&I. EU research and innovation is a public good and should deliver benefits for society, yet Horizon Europe will fail to ensure that potential new products will be accessible, available and affordable for EU citizens.”

Background:

  • In June 2018, the European Commission launched its proposal for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, set to begin in 2021 and run for 7 years with a budget of almost 100 billion euros.
  • On Wed 12 Dec 2018, the European Parliament voted to confirm its position on the Regulation and Specific Programme for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe., ahead of negotiations with the Council of the European Union.

Please contact: jmcardle@ghadvocates.org

Societal impact at risk in European Parliament position on the next EU research programme

12 December 2018

Civil society has published a reaction to the European Parliament’s position on Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation framework programme.

We welcome some improvements within thematic clusters and, more broadly, the recognition of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, and the role of citizens and civil society. However, we find that the Parliament did not go far enough to ensure public return on public investment in the programme, and has in some places weakened the existing proposal.

We are concerned that: the definition of societal impact improved, its link to sustainable development remains weak; there no guarantee for dedicated funding for projects focusing on addressing societal challenges in Pillar 2; the parliament failed to address the barriers to societal engagement in R&I agenda-setting; open access principles have been undermined by the Parliament; and the explicit support for the major public-private partnerships with industry without commitments to reform them toward societal impact. We are also extremely concerned about the inclusion of the “innovation principle”, an industry-created tool to undermine social and environmental legislation.

Jill McArdle, EU Advocacy Officer at Global Health Advocates, said:

“We are dismayed that the Parliament declined to put in place concrete safeguards in the next research and innovation programme to ensure it benefits society. There are no assurances that sustainable development will not be side-lined in favour of pursuing industrial competitiveness. The Parliament has taken a disappointing step back on open access and opened the door for industry to undermine important health and environmental regulations. Publicly funded research and innovation should respond to society’s needs and be safe to use, and its results should be accessible to the public. Otherwise we risk having public funding that only serves private interests.” 

Background:

  • In June 2018, the European Commission launched its proposal for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, set to begin in 2021 and run for 7 years with a budget of almost 100 billion euros.
  • On Wed 12 Dec 2018, the European Parliament voted to confirm its position on the Regulation and Specific Programme for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe., ahead of negotiations with the Council of the European Union.

Please contact: jmcardle@ghadvocates.org

 

Ensuring a social and sustainable future for Europe: GHA work around EU elections 2019

11 December 2018

In 23-26 May 2019, EU citizens will vote for a new European Parliament. This process will help select the next president of the European Commission, the top job in Brussels. Global Health Advocates (GHA) works with civil society partners in the lead to the European Parliament elections to ensure the next legislature implements policy changes that GHA is advocating for: putting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of EU policies, ensuring genuine EU development aid policies, and reaffirming EU’s key role in promoting equitable access to health both within the EU and globally. GHA is engaged in the following civil society activities and initiatives around the 2019 elections:

SDG Watch Europe, an EU-level cross-sectoral alliance of NGOs from development, environment, social, human rights sectors, and a coalition of more than 200 civil society organisations, have launched “Manifesto for a Sustainable Europe for its Citizens” with core demands for the new political leadership of the EU and the candidates in the European Parliament election to put Sustainable Development at the center of their political priorities. You can read the full Manifesto here.

EU Crystal Ball campaign strives to ensure political leaders and advisers put Sustainable Development at the core of the next EU political priorities, by illustrating how political choices will impact the EU and the world in various policy domains. The campaign is led by CONCORD Europe in partnership with GHA, European Environmental Bureau, Transparency International. The campaign page can be found here

European Alliance of Responsible R&D and Access to Medicines has launched its Manifesto “Putting People’s Health First: Improving Access to Medicines in Europe” which reiterates civil society’s calls to ensure public return on EU’s investments in biomedical R&D and adopt public health needs-driven approach for biomedical R&D in the next European Parliament and the new European Commission policies. The Manifesto can be downloaded here

 

For more information, contact Marine Ejuryan at mejuryan@ghadvocates.org

Council supports sustainable development, but more needed to ensure EU R&I delivers benefits for citizens

Civil society has published a reaction to the Council of the European Union’s Partial General Approach on the Regulation for Horizon Europe, the next EU Research Framework Programme.

We are encouraged to note that the Council has improved the proposal in several key areas, including by linking the definition and indicators for societal impact and the Programme objectives to Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, as well as linking missions and partnerships to societal needs. Also encouraging, recalling the Council Conclusions of Nov 2017, were improved commitments to engage citizens in strategic planning and missions, as well as support for the Commission’s open access plans.

At the same time, we note that gaps remain in terms of safeguarding societal impact, and the following areas could be strengthened: The definition of societal impact, by making clear that societal impact is embodied by the SDGs, such as healthy lives, climate action and sustainable food and farming; Dedicated funding for societal impact in Pillar 2 in the form of guaranteed funding lines for independent, participatory research projects whose objectives and priority setting focus solely on addressing societal challenges; and societal engagement commitments, where a clear roadmap on how Horizon Europe will address barriers to citizen and civil society organisations (CSO) engagement in agenda-setting is still lacking,

Jill McArdle, EU Advocacy Officer at Global Health Advocates, said:

“We are encouraged to see that the Council have reinforced commitments to prioritise sustainable development in Horizon Europe. However, we are still concerned that safeguards are not in place to ensure accountability and societal impact. The blurring of profit-oriented goals with societal impact goals risks limiting the already-scarce funding available for addressing societal challenges, endangers a needs-based R&I agenda, and further excludes citizens and civil society. If the EU is serious about delivering on international commitments like the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, we need concrete guarantees that sustainable development will not be subordinated to private interests in the programme.”

Civil society calls on the European Parliament leadership to prioritise health in the next EU budget

Global Health Advocates, together with the European Public Health Alliance, has initiated a letter addressed to the leaders of the main political groups of the European Parliament calling to increase the funding for health in the next EU long-term budget and re-establish a strong stand-alone Health Programme. The letter is endorsed by 28 health civil society groups and networks from Europe.

The European Parliament is due to adopt its position on the European Commission’s proposal on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) which suggests to merge the current EU Health Programme with other policy areas. The  European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has already expressed its concern on the withdrawal of health as a separate  programme and proposed to increase the budget at least to the same level as in the current EU budget.

With the upcoming European elections, health should move to the top of the EU’s agenda to ensure the EU can realise its commitment to achieve the health targets of Sustainable Development Goals.

The full civil society letter can be found here. 

Follow the Funding: Nutrition for Growth Progress Report

The World Health Assembly’s 2012 endorsement of global targets to improve maternal and child nutrition by 2020 was a determined effort, echoed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2013 combined pledge for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs, which surpassed USD 24 billion, helped to secure support for the long-neglected imperative to improve child nutrition.

Now, ACTION’s accountability report and scorecard is tracking the scope and implementation of N4G commitments to nutrition. Through consistent and accessible reporting, governments and philanthropic donors allow tracking to be done in an accurate and meaningful way.

In order to reach the SDGs and earlier international pledges for improving nutrition, it is clear that donors must reaffirm their commitments, and increase investment.

You can read the full report here.

Policy Brief: Making the Case for Investing in Nutrition

Generation Nutrition calls on the EU to keep nutrition high in the next multi-annual budget

The EU has committed to support partner countries in reducing the number of stunted children by at least 7 million by 2025. Unfortunately, despite all commitments the world is not on track to reach SDG2 and the EU’s own commitments are achievable only if nutrition continues to be priorities and interventions scaled up. Generation Nutrition, a coalition of Brussels-based civil society organisations therefore urges the European Union to make poverty eradication, combating inequality and the achievement of Agenda2030 central to the objectives of the draft EU regulation for its 2020-2027 development and international cooperation policy and keep nutrition at the core of EU external action.

Read the full policy brief here.