The event was well attended by more than 200 participants, including an EU Presidencies Panel consisting of the Secretaries of State for Development of Spain and Hungary, and the Director General of Development Cooperation of Belgium.
The key note speech was delivered by Andris Piebalgs, the new European Commissioner for Development, in what was his first public appearance since his official confirmation in parliament.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH RIGHTS
In his address Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The rights approach, which we value, is based on the universality of every human right and Europe is bound to promote and protect health as a human right. It thus requires that attention be paid to all individuals and to all health needs".
He emphasised that the current MDG framework is the essential reference to our work on global health, and we should use it as the “driver of the political momentum and put all our energy in reaching the targets set."
Piebalgs also stressed the importance of respecting aid commitments and that "we need to ensure that other, additional and innovative sources of financing are also directed towards the health sector."
INNOVATIVE FINANCING MECHANISMS AT THE BELGIAN EU PRESIDENCY'S AGENDA
With regard to the EU Presidencies panel, the intervention by Belgium (the upcoming EU Presidency, under which the MDG Review Summit will take place) was particularly interesting: Piebalgs mentioned that innovative financing mechanisms and the Financial Transaction Tax will be placed high on the agenda during the Belgian EU Presidency. During their Presidency, Belgium will also pay attention to the issue of social protection and to a more harmonized EU approach towards budget support.
Spain made a commitment that it is willing to push for the inclusion of the
0.1% of donors GNI for health target in the Council Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in May 2010.
TAKING TO THE SUMMIT
Three thematic workshops took place in the afternoon, on:
- Financing for health
- Health systems strengthening, and
- Fair access.
Sam McPherson, an Alliance Associate Director, attended the health system strengthening workshop: “The commitment of the European Parliament is essential if we are to make progress on meeting the health MDG's,” said Sam.
“The Alliance is committed to strengthen community responses as a key response to achieve healthy communities. Community systems strengthening is a vital component of health systems strengthening and needs to be prioritised accordingly by the European Commission and other key donors."
Four recommendations from each workshop will be addressed to EU Policy Makers before they agree on the common EU position for the UN MDG Review Summit in September.
ABOUT ACTION FOR GLOBAL HEALTH
AFGH is a broad European network of NGOs, including the Alliance, advocating for Europe to play a more proactive role in enabling developing countries to meet the Health Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The commitment of the European Parliament is essential if we are to make progress on meeting the health MDG's