New Delhi (NVI): To rethink policy priorities in the light of pandemics, the WHO Regional Office for Europe is convening a Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development.
After identifying and reviewing the relevant evidence, the Commission will draw lessons from the ways in which different countries‘ health systems have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and will make recommendations on investments and reforms to improve the resilience of health and social care systems, WHO’s Europe office said in a statement today.
The Commission will also seek to build consensus on these recommendations and to elevate health and social care as societal and political priorities, recognized as being critical to both sustainable development and social cohesion, it said.
The Commission will be chaired by Professor Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and former Prime Minister of Italy and a former European Commissioner. The Commission will be composed of former heads of states and governments, distinguished life scientists and economists, heads of health and social care institutions, and leaders of the business community and financial institutions.
Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said, “Our goal is to position health at the top of the political agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals, and to strengthen the resilience of health and social care systems in the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region. We are proud that Professor Mario Monti, highly respected for his leadership shown as Prime Minister of Italy at a critical time, as European Commissioner and as President of Bocconi University, has accepted to chair the Commission.
“This new Pan-European Commission collectively pools the knowledge and wisdom of a continent-wide network of leaders, policy-makers, scientists and civil society to identify, formulate and address key questions about the future of health and social care systems in the WHO European Region.”
On the occasion, Professor Monti said that he is honoured to chair the new Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development. “This pandemic has compounded the inequalities and divisions that are paralysing our societies and preventing progress on sustainable development. I regard WHO‘s decision to set up this high-level independent Commission as a progressive step towards shaping a more effective, integrated approach to health and well-being, as a bedrock for sustainable development.
“I am delighted that the Commission will be able to count on a Scientific Coordinator of the caliber of Professor Elias Mossialos, Founder and Director of the LSE Department of Health Policy,” he said.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P Kluge will jointly launch the Commission when it holds its inaugural meeting on 26 August 2020. A press briefing will also be held at this time – 16:30 CEST on Wednesday 26 August 2020. The WHO Regional Office for Europe will convene and act as secretariat to the Commission and support the production of the Commission report, WHO said.
Supported by a Scientific Advisory Board, the Commission will oversee and direct the collection and review of relevant evidence by a network of researchers, practitioners and scientists from across the Region. The Commission is to complete its work and present its final report by September 2021.
Dr Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, concluded, “the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development embodies the political imperative of the WHO European Programme of Work: namely, to support countries in meeting citizens’ expectations towards their health authorities.
“This programme of work will be put to the 53 Member States for their endorsement at WHO’s annual governance meeting, the 70th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, in September this year.”