European priorities for global health action

European priorities for global health action must engage all actors, including donor and recipient countries beyond the EU. These include all the agencies noted in this glossary and academic, business and civil society networks. It is important to bear in mind that global health is not solely concerned with health threats in or arising from resource-poor countries; these may also arise in rich countries (as in the case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and global warming), middle income countries (as in the case of avian and swine flu) or poor countries (as exemplified by HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis).

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Global health policies and policy tools

The tools for achieving improved global health include international agreements, laws and regulations, policies, action to engage communities including, academic, business and civil, funding mechanisms, international partnerships for health, and improved governance procedures to ensure policy cohesion by establishing priorities for European action on global health.

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International agreements, laws and regulations

International agreements are mutual obligations accepted by governments in negotiation with others, often as a consequence of participation in an international agency such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is responsible for resolving disputes. International laws are legally binding treaties that can be invoked by authorized UN bodies such as WHO.

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Actions to engage communities in global health

These political and social movements and actions include health forums and platforms and corporate social responsibility.

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

If corporate responsibility for health and environmental sustainability is to spread through European MNEs, it must be made attractive to businesses by recognizing best practice and championing leading companies so that shareholders and customers can distinguish between well-performing companies and others. It is also important to engage the private sector, shareholder and consumer groups in formulating standards of good practice and methods of audit so that they are owned by the stakeholders. Processes such as these have begun to take shape at the European level and within member states. In 2001, the European Commission's green paper on this topic defined corporate social responsibility (CSR) as "a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis". The paper went on to stress the principle of voluntarism in corporate social responsibility, but argued that it was important for long-term shareholder value and sustainability.

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New funding tools

In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the scale of investment required to address global health and environmental issues. Action on funding for global health include renewed commitments to the 1970 target for official development assistance of 0.7 per cent of GDP/GNI, and the development of new instruments for financial and other forms of assistance. In general, these instruments recognize that health is a global concern affecting rich and poor countries, and that it represents an economic investment in future productivity as well as a humanitarian issue.

 

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European Action in Global Health Partnerships

Global health partnerships are a specific grouping of global public-private partnerships (GPPPs) which promote cooperation between state and non-state actors both from the national and international level and contribute to the funding of global public goods and the development of a "new public finance."

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The International Health Partnership and Related Initiatives (IHP+)

The International Health Partnership and Related Initiatives provide an important toolkit for development co-operation, providing a framework for agreement with partner countries to provide sustained support for integrated cross sector programmes of action committing both donor and recipient countries to working together and monitoring the achievement of agreed targets in relation to one agreed national health plan.

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Additional information