Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

The EU's role in global health and the WHO reform; between health and foreign policy

The EU's role in global health and the WHO reform; between health and foreign policy

"This paper firstly explores the EU’s growing role and position on health and global health matters, how this role has emerged and the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the EU’s role in global health. Specifically the EU’s competences in health, the EU’s status within the United Nations and World Health Organisation and the development of its role in global health is considered. Secondly, this paper turns to the EU position on the WHO reform debate and the extent to which the EU represents a single voice in discussions. It concludes that the EU is emerging as a significant player in global health policy and initiatives, for example being pro‐active in leading up to the recent UN High level meeting on non‐communicable diseases (NCDs). Throughout the WHO reform debate, the EU has presented common positions on the reform, bringing the experience of EU internal governance practices to the table, especially on matters such as stakeholder engagement and transparency. However, as health is increasingly acknowledged as a cross‐border, foreign policy issue involving a number of ‘determinants’ and requiring cross‐sectoral action, the potential for ‘horizontal’ tensions and ‘turf wars’ between EU actors is evident (e.g. between health, development and foreign policy). The paper concludes by considering a number of questions for future research relevant to the EU’s role in global health and foreign policy."

The EU's role in global health and the WHO reform; between health and foreign policy. Samantha Battams, Remco van de Pas, Louise van Schaik. Paper presented at the Lisboan Erasmus Academic Network workshop, "EU external representation in international contexts: reform practices after Lisbon", February 2012, The Hague: Clingendael Institute. Co-author Remco van de Pas, Wemos, is member of the MMI global health governance team.

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