Symposium on foreign policy and global health
Working together towards common goals
12-13 June, 2008, at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland
The Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative (FPGH), launched by the Oslo Ministerial Declaration, and the World Health Organization (WHO) will host a symposium on foreign policy and global health on 12-13 June 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Geneva. This Concept Note summarizes the background, objectives, and expected outputs of the symposium.
Awareness about the relationship between health and foreign policy is growing. The FPGH has been a leader by convening foreign ministers from Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, South Africa, and Thailand to discuss health as a foreign policy concern, by issuing the Oslo Ministerial Declaration in March 2007 on global health as a pressing foreign policy issue, and by involving WHO, the UN, and other foreign ministers in talks in September 2007 at the UN General Assembly meeting. The developing agenda on the link between health and foreign policy highlights four themes:
- The pursuit of health must involve more than the traditional health sector; and health offers important potential as an arena for foreign policy;
- Identifying and exploiting ways to create synergies between health objectives and foreign policy formulation and implementation needs more systemic study;
- The application of a health lens to foreign policy needs better rooting in foreign policy analysis and practice;
- Professionals in the health and foreign policy communities require more strategic inputs from policy analysis and research and better training opportunities to maximize the potential in the interface between health and foreign policy.
The June symposium will review the status of the health and foreign policy relationship and examine ways to deepen the understanding, strengthen synergies and capture opportunities by:
- critical analysis of the health and foreign policy relationship; with both health and foreign policy entry points and applying different regional perspectives;
- examining how diplomacy and foreign policy are changing, and implications of these changes for health;
- reviewing initiatives and commitments, including the G8 health commitments from a foreign policy and global health perspective;
- focusing on some specific policy areas that illustrate the potential in applying a health lens to foreign policy, including peace and security, climate change, development, and respect for human rights;
- giving illustrations of how the health-foreign policy nexus can aid negotiating processes reach consensus;
- exploring ways to engage think tanks and academic institutions in all regions in support of the foreign policy and global health agenda, such as through policy analysis and improved training of foreign policy and health professionals.
The symposium will result in a Chair’s report with action items for the FPGH to take forward:
- recommendations on ways to build health-based consensus in international negotiations;
- recommendations on accelerating implementation of existing health-related commitments;
- identifying foreign policy issues potentially in need of a health lens;
- developing opportunities for integrated training of foreign policy and health professionals;
- commitment to table a resolution on foreign policy and health at the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2008.