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Council Conclusions on the EU Global Health Strategy: A positive signal weakened by a lack of concrete provisions

By 1 February 2024No Comments

GHA welcomes the adoption of Council Conclusions on the EU Global Health Strategy, after one year of negotiations. This is a very positive signal sent by the Council and the Belgian Presidency, and we rejoice that the Council reaffirmed unanimously the importance of primary health care (PHC), nutritious and healthy diets, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). While we look forward to supporting its implementation, we however regret the lack of concrete provisions on immunisation, access and equity, and on financing.

An essential foundation of UHC, the delivery of routine immunisation has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic: in 2022, 14.3 million children did not receive any vaccination. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective public health investments we can make, as highlighted in the EU Global Health Strategy, and we call on the Member States to support the EU’s partners in boosting vaccination rates among children worldwide.

These Conclusions also fail to reference and build on the 2010 Conclusions on the EU role in Global Health: it is regrettable that the EU does not express explicit support for technology transfer and the pooling of research data and intellectual property, nor supports synergies with the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe to ensure access to affordable medicines for patients all over the world.

Finally, since the success of the strategy will greatly depend on resource allocation, the EU’s financing for global health must be up to the task. We therefore urge Member States to consider the financing of global health in the years to come, especially now with the ongoing revision of the Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIP), and to strengthen the EU’s own ability to address upcoming challenges.

We now call on the Council and the European Commission to translate the Strategy’s goals into concrete action and to ensure that it is backed with adequate financing to sustain its ambitions until 2030.