To inform the Commission, WHO Europe conducted a survey addressed to youth organisations to gather youth views on health priorities. The European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament participated in the survey bringing the voice of young patients living with allergy and asthma. Their submission was based on their own EU policy recommendations launched in December 2020.

The final report of the Commission, entitled ‘Drawing light from the pandemic: A new strategy for health and sustainable development’ outlines the Commission’s conclusions on the current state-of-play for health policy in Europe, the challenges imposed, and recommendations. In the report, the Commission highlights seven objectives for Europe in the future:

  • Operationalise the concept of One Health at all levels: To promote a health-in-all-policies approach that is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Commission proposes cross-government One Health strategies and coordinated action at all levels to reduce environmental and climate-related risks to health, and to enhance One Health reporting systems.
  • Take action at all levels of societies to heal the divisions exacerbated by the pandemic: To develop and implement policies that provides social security for those in impoverished and precarious living conditions, to reduce risks to their health.
  • Support innovation for better One Health: Establish mechanisms to improve One Health in Europe through research, development and implementation of shared policies based on partnership between the public and private sectors.
  • Invest in strong, resilient and inclusive national health systems: Prioritise infectious and chronic diseases, and also increase investment previously underfunded areas e.g. primary care and mental health, as well as public health.
  • Create an enabling environment to promote investment in health: The Commission recommends financial incentives to enable investments to promote health and well-being for all.
  • Improve health governance at the global level: The Commission calls for a Pandemic Treaty and global pandemic vaccine policy to establish the rights and responsibilities of all parties for future availability and distribution of vaccines.
  • Improve health governance in the pan-European region: the Commission proposes to establish a Pan-European Network for Disease Control and a Pan-European Health Threats Council to improve both scientific and political coordination for future health threats.

The report offers a broad and ambitious vision for the future of pan-European health policy in preparedness for future crises, and to address the underlying societal issues that threaten our health. The Youth Parliament welcomes this scope, as it makes clear that a health-in-all-policies approach is urgently needed, especially to support young people who live with chronic disease.

However, the Youth Parliament notes with disappointment that, despite a survey aimed at young people, there was only one brief reference to the specific impact of young people the pandemic has had, and there was no youth focus in proposed solutions. There was also lack of mention of specific diseases, such as allergy and asthma, despite the clear the COVID-19 pandemic, provoked by a respiratory infection, has had on airways diseases.

You can read the Youth Parliament’s response to the survey here.

You can read the WHO report Drawing light from the pandemic: A new strategy for health and sustainable development here.