On Monday I was invited to present at the European Parliament Development committee for an exchange of views on global health.
As you may be aware, April is the month dedicated to health as part of the European Year for Development 2015. It was therefore a great initiative from the European Parliament to organise a debate to look at all the components of global health: from health system strengthening to R&D for global health, and from international organisations to disease-specific initiatives.
Global Health at the European Parliament
Two extremely knowledge speakers were invited to share their expertise in front of the assembled members of the Parliament’s development committee: Dr Cathy Roth, Scientific Policy Advisor to the Assistant Director-General of the Health Security and the Environment Cluster, WHO, who drew lessons from the Ebola outbreak crisis and the great need to invest in global health Systems and Dr Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff, The Global Fund, who presented the tremendous impact of the Fund.
I was delighted to speak before the committee, discussing the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) and R&D. I concluded with some of key asks on global health shared by many global health CSOs for today and the post 2015 development agenda:
– Finishing the unfinished MDG agenda and achieving universal Health coverage;
– Giving the means to reach this ambition by dedicating more resources to global health and R&D, especially on poverty related and neglected diseases (like HIV & AIDS or malaria);
– Finally supporting domestic resource mobilisation (for example, through better local tax systems), with gender and youth sensitive budgeting and progressive tax policies.
Global Health at the European Parliament – lessons learned from the Ebola crisis
During the Q&As session many Members of the European Parliament were supportive in their comments, calling for more development assistance to health, as well as asking what lessons were learned during the Ebola crisis. Several asked us what the priorities of the EU should be if we were to invest in Health between the ones we mentioned.
I had only a short time to respond to the many interventions, but even if it had been two hours, I would have given the same response:
– The EU can reach the 0.7% of GNI to ODA (as they have committed to as part of the MDGs), countries have been able to hit this target for the development assistance
– How could we call on the partner country to do their fair share in terms of budget allocation, if we cannot deliver on a long-standing commitment? How can we encourage low and middle income countries to reach more taxes if we cannot ensure our own policy coherence?
– We have to do it all if we want to achieve global health for all
– But, if you have to choose the priorities should be defined together with partner countries, based on an assessment of their needs, and focus on the poor and the people most in need!
Let’s see now what will be the outcome of the Financing for Development conference in Addis and on the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda in New York.
You can watch the full session online here: http://bit.ly/1dkHQnG