The declaration was drafted at the annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe which was attended by John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. It provides the framework of cooperation for the next five years between the two organisations, and it outlines the development of joint systems for health surveillance, alert and information, and stronger collaboration at country level.

The joint declaration urges for more cohesive effort to improve health security throughout the WHO European Region. The need to address the threats of antimicrobial resistance, especially multidrug resistance was underlined. Another area for improved coordination is public health surveillance and strengthening of alert and response systems to allow quicker and more efficient responses to disease outbreaks and pandemics.

Action will also be undertaken to set up a single integrated information system covering the entire WHO European Region. They will also collaborate in order to help countries address the consequences of the financial and economic crisis and maximize the health returns of health and non-health investments. The declaration also points out that action must be taken to monitor health inequalities and identify way to minimise them

It is crucial for us to work more closely with the European Commission on addressing common public health challenges in the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region. The consequences of the financial crisis and the existing and emerging public health threats can only be tackled through a more streamlined collaborative framework, backed up by a strategic vision,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

John Dalli said: “I welcome and fully support this declaration for future collaboration between the European Commission and the World Health Organisation. By working closer together, we can build synergies, avoid duplication and be more effective in achieving our health objectives. I believe that now is the right moment, at the beginning of my mandate and that of Zsuzsanna Jakab, to strengthen and enlarge our partnership.

For further information: The text of the declaration is available here

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Last modified on September 30 2010.