Belgium and World Health Organisation sign cooperation agreement
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo welcomes the new cooperation agreement between Belgium and the World Health Organization. He was present at the signing of the agreement, this morning, by Maggie De Block, Minister of Health, and Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of WHO in Europe. Minister De Block signed the ‘Country Cooperation Strategy' on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health. WHO is one of the 15 partner organizations of the Belgian Development Cooperation.
Belgium and the World Health Organization (WHO) decide on a Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) for the first time. In this cooperation agreement, both parties commit to collaborate on several major policy areas for a period of six years. In total, five priority areas have been identified with a number of specific points of attention per area:
- the central position of the patient and the development of public health capacity - E.g. ensuring quality of and access to medicines in developing countries; working with national health objectives
- noncommunicable diseases - E.g. promotion of healthy lifestyles
- strengthening of prevention and management of health crises - E.g. policy on responsible use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance
- environment and health - E.g. tackling the problem of air pollution
- communicable diseases - E.g. cooperation on sexual and reproductive health and rights
The policy areas have been determined in mutual consultation between the World Health Organization and our country. For Belgium, both the different Ministers of Health on the federal and the regional level (represented by the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health) and the Minister of Development Cooperation were involved.
Belgium is one of the first Western European countries to sign such an agreement with WHO. In the past, our country and WHO cooperated through Biennial Collaborative Agreements, where the focus was on the contribution of our country to WHO. This is the first time that both parties agree on a strategic agenda for common activities.
WHO is one of the 15 partner organizations of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In September of this year, Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to reaffirm this partnership and to create a framework for the cooperation in the coming years.
WHO and our country share common values and approaches to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2030 in the field of health. These include the importance of the right to health care, sexual and reproductive rights and health, integrated health systems and access to quality essential medicines, attention for the most vulnerable and the multi-sectoral approach of the socio-economic determinants of health. Belgium supported WHO between 2011 and 2015 with annual contributions from 9 to 15 million euros. A multi-year funding will be fixed in 2017.