Shaping Global Health Policy

Global health challenges call for solutions that have impact beyond sectoral and national borders. Germany is committed to promoting global health on the international stage and actively tables the topic in international fora such as the G7 and G20. In line with its Global Health Strategy and the goal of achieving the health targets of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Federal Government is pushing for the implementation of the international commitments and for addressing, over the long-term, challenges such as international health security, the control of antimicrobial resistance or communicable and non-communicable diseases. Throughout these endeavours, Germany strongly advocates the strengthening of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the leading and coordinating institution in global health policy.  

Over the last decade, Germany has positioned and heavily engaged itself in global health. This became evident when health was made a priority during Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2015  in the aftermath of the West African Ebola epidemic, during Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017 and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Federal Government is convinced that only an overarching commitment, internationally coordinated across individual countries, in international fora such as the G7 and G20, at the level of the European Union and globally, involving in each case the most severely affected countries, can lower the burden of disease globally and help make populations healthier. This is why Germany is actively involved in precisely these fora and supports public health policy’s central actor - WHO.

In 2015, the international community adopted the UN's 2030 AgendaIt includes a total of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Particularly SDG 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” puts the focus on global health.

The 2030 Agenda evolved from the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000. The 2030 Agenda takes these further by considering all of the dimensions of sustainable development on the basis of 17 relevant goals. The dimensions refer to social issues, the environment and the economy.

International cooperation

International organisations and initiatives have a major role to play in the Federal Government’s global, multilateral work in the field of global health. For many years now, Germany has been committed to international cooperation in an effort to enable health and well-being around the world. Germany is one of the biggest financial contributors to the World Health Organization (WHO) .

Bilateral cooperation, especially with cooperation partners in the EU member states, is another mainstay of global health. The German health care system’s high standard of development also entails a responsibility to share its experience with partner countries, especially in East and Central Europe, but also in Asia, Africa and Latin America, to help build and expand their own healthcare systems. Conversely, experiences made by other countries must also be analysed to contribute to our own reform projects.

Germany’s global health policy is based on assessing the opportunities and potentials that can be realised by our contributions to global health. At a time when the commitment to multilateralism and joint action is being challenged globally and yet appears to be more vital than ever, the Federal Government has set itself the task, within the framework of the Coalition Agreement, to strengthen global health and published a strategy setting out how Germany can help to achieve this.

The importance of Global Health has grown markedly in recent years, both in Germany and internationally. Thanks to the high-profile assumption of increasing international responsibility, Germany has come to hold a globally acknowledged leadership role in this field.

The Subcommittee on Global Health

Health is becoming ever more important as a vital element of sustainable development. In an effort to address the trends and challenges in Global Health and to facilitate cross-cutting cooperation and exchange among all of the parliamentary bodies involved, the Subcommittee on Global Health was first set up at the Health Committee in 2018.  

The State Secretaries’ Committee on Sustainable Development rates Global Health as a priority topic, which is also reflected in Germany’s Sustainable Development Strategy.

In its decision of 29 October 2018, the State Secretaries’ Committee reaffirmed that health, both on the national and global level, is a goal, precondition and driver for sustainable development.