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Statement delivered by Estonia on behalf of the European Union under agenda item 3 at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe 67th session in Budapest


WHO Regional Committee for Europe 67th session

EU Statement


Agenda item 3: Matters arising from resolutions and decisions of the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board

Budapest, 14 September 2017


I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.


The EU and its Member States welcome the development of a draft five year strategic plan to improve public heath preparedness and response.

We would like to recall the legitimacy and binding nature of the International Health Regulations and the importance of the national focal point. It is every MS responsibility to fully implement IHR to protect their population and thus contribute also to global health security. Furthermore it is every MS responsibility to fully report diseases and events in accordance with the regulations in order not to undermine our joint work and commitment.


The EU and its Member States agree on the guiding principles and pillars for public health preparedness and response.

For this moment we have the following remarks on these principles and pillars.

Country ownership, inter sectoral approach and partnerships are key in strengthening IHR. We stress the importance of developing national “whole of government” plans for preparedness and health security capacity building, including health sector plans, integrating the recommendations from based on the recommendations from the WHO Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, including the voluntary external evaluations. To do so, we encourage countries to be evaluated by WHO, to be able to develop these national plans. It is also important to aligning them with national budget cycles and donor coordination early in the planning process.

Efficient response to health emergencies is a high priority for WHO.  Strengthening response capacities in all countries, in particular in those most at risk from health threats, is an equally important.

Integration of the International Health Regulations in national health system is an important strategic principle too. We are convinced that strengthening core capacities, including essential public health functions, should be an integral part of health systems strengthening and efforts to achieve universal health coverage.


And finally we would like to stress that regional integration is more than developing regional plans by the regional offices. Cooperation with regional organizations such as the European Union is essential. The EU and its MS have obligations through the implementation of the EU Decision on serious cross-border threats to health and its cooperation programs, including for risk communication and assistance through the European Medical Corps and other bilateral supporting structures. We are ready to work closely with WHO Regional Offices and with the WHO Office in charge of preparedness and capacity building in this regard.


We look forward to participating in the formal consultation in November in Geneva. 

Thank you.


*Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


© Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28A, Geneva
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