Kick-off event for a new German strategy on Global Health

Over the past few years, Germany has assumed a strong leadership role in global health. To further strengthen this commitment, a new German strategy on global health will be developed, led by the German Federal Ministry of Health, in close consultation with other relevant ministries and with input from non-state actors.

Global health has become a topic of increased political and public interest. One reason is that disease outbreaks, such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa a few years ago or the one happening right now in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have attracted international attention. In response, Germany is stepping up its leadership role in global health, putting it high on the international agenda.

Developing a new Global Health Strategy

To further shape Germany's international leadership in this area, the Federal Government will develop a new strategy for global health. The Federal Ministry of Health is leading this process, working in close partnership with other relevant ministries. The development process began on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, when the Federal Ministry of Health hosted an official launching event. State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Lutz Stroppe, welcomed 145 participants to the kick-off meeting at the GIZ-Haus in Berlin, amongst them representatives of academia, civil society, the private sector and youth.

Our main objective is to support the 2030 Agenda, in particular the implementation of the health-related sustainable development goals, namely ensuring a healthy life for everybody through the lifecycle. Germany strongly advocates for the strengthening of the World Health Organization as the leading and coordinating global health institution. To achieve this, we want to further increase our commitment with the new strategy. But the strategy development process itself also adds value. It gives us the opportunity to further strengthen alliances with national and international partners. Therefore, we want to involve and consult all relevant stakeholders. We want to listen to their perspectives on possible priorities for the new strategy.

State Secretary Lutz Stroppe

Looking back on Germany’s achievements to date

During the kick-off meeting, non-state actors and representatives of the various ministries discussed Germany’s current engagement. Dagmar Lohan, senior policy officer at the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, underlined that Germany has already achieved a lot in recent years through its bi- and multilateral engagement. "The last German strategy on global health from 2013 has helped to put global health on the international agenda. Since then, we have increased our contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and to the GAVI vaccine alliance. One focus of our bilateral cooperation in the health sector has been to support partner countries to strengthen their health systems. In 2016, the Government invested 1.034 million EUR in health."

Identifying future challenges and opportunities

In the subsequent working groups, participants developed initial ideas on goals and opportunities for the new Global Health Strategy. They discussed current challenges, Germany’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as possible structures for implementing the new strategy. All participants welcomed the opportunity to exchange and brainstorm together. The commitment and the shared positive spirit of the various actors became very clear at the event. There was a great interest among all participants to get involved and take part in the development of the strategy.

Next steps

In a next step, non-state actors have the opportunity to outline their ideas and priorities for the Global Health Strategy. To facilitate this process, it is suggested that non-state stakeholder groups write joint position papers. Coordinators have been appointed for each of the contributing non-state stakeholder groups. The following groups have been identified, taking the G20 engagement groups as an example: civil society, think tanks, private sector, academia and youth. At an event in early September 2018 the coordinators will present the position papers and hand them over to the Federal Government.

After this, the interministerial discussions and coordination on the priorities and objectives of the strategy will begin. The aim is for the cabinet to adopt the new strategy by the end of 2019.