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30 November 2022

As part of the move towards a European Health Union, the European Commission launched in June a public consultation to review the EU Global Health Strategy, the current version of which dates back to 2010. Being allergy and airways diseases among the most prevalent in the world, this internationalisation initiative for health is very welcome by EFA.

The Commission’s aim is to take stock of the rapidly changing global health landscape, including digitalisation, new health threats, and a better understanding of the links between environment and health, while further building on Europe’s leadership in health policy.

In the consultation, the Commission outlined four priorities that will be key pillars of the new strategy:

  • Health systems that ensure effective preparedness and response to health threats
  • Stepping up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • The increasing need to put One Health principles into practice
  • A health-in-all-policies approach

EFA response to the consultation on global health strategy

EFA participated in the consultation to assign a high priority to the strengthening of health systems and the accomplishment of the health SDGs. Moreover, a health-in-all-policies approach is extremely important as our understanding of health determinants improves. This is especially evident, for example, from the health impact of environmental factors and climate change, the effect of unhealthy workplace conditions, and the heavy burden of smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. A truly inclusive health-in-all-policies approach must ensure policy coherence, set clear health-related goals, and involve the strong voice of patient in making and delivering policy.

The current climate emergency is another key risk, as it affects health and life in a variety of ways and is predicted to worsen. Therefore, EFA calls on the Commission to lead by example in areas highly relevant to the health of the overall population in Europe and beyond, such as the policies outlined above, but also on anti-microbial resistance, pharmaceuticals, and bioethics principles. To achieve this, the EU must make the most out of collaboration with bodies such as OECD and the Council of Europe; UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP; and public-private initiatives such as Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance).

The European Commission plans to adopt the strategy by the end of the year. You can access the full EFA response here.