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The AU-EU Summit: Civil Society Recommendations for Transformative Actions on Health

By 13 December 2021No Comments

The African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) summit aims to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values.” In the March 2020 EU-Africa Strategy, the European Commission brings together existing initiatives under five “partnerships”. Notably missing is an explicit partnership on human development. Health is also under-represented. On the contrary, the European Council’s position includes a priority on the human dimension, and the European Parliament’s report features human development with health as a foundational element and a key priority. 

The AU-EU Ministerial Meeting in October 2021 resulted in a Joint Communiqué, which will guide discussions for the February AU-EU summit. While this communique agrees to health cooperation in a number of ways, we, a coalition of civil society organisations working in the field of global health, feel it neglects some major issues and is lacking concrete objectives. The next EU-Africa partnership framework should recognize well-functioning and resilient health systems as essential for both health security, and universal health coverage (UHC). 

In order to achieve this, we submited 7 recommendations. 

  1. With no end in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic, investment in health must be scaled up
  2. Investments in resilient health systems require a strong focus on equity
  3. The EU-Africa strategy should prioritise equitable access to basic social service, including health, by taking a multi-sectoral approach
  4. The next partnership should adopt concrete actions on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  5. The EU and its Member States need to stop blocking the negotiations on the TRIPS Waiver at the World Trade Organization
  6. Leaders should create a more enabling environment on R&I cooperation
  7. Leaders must support more effective financing of health systems and promote a fairer and more redistributive macroeconomic policies