Kick-off event for a new German strategy on global health

Picture of Panel discussion

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

Lutz Stroppe, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health

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. Lutz Stroppe, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, 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’, said Stroppe. ‘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.’

Looking back on Germany’s achievements to date

During he kick-off meeting, non-state actors and representatives of the various ministries discussed Germany’s current engagement. Dagmar Lohan of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, underlined that Germany has already achieved a lot in the last years through its bi- and multilateral engagement. ‘We financed the vaccination of over 28 million children, we averted 3 million HIV-, tuberculosis- and malaria-related deaths and we ensured that over 4 million women had safe, attended births, to name but a few results. All of our efforts contribute to the same goal: strengthening health systems as a whole - a long-term process which requires significant investments. We have therefore continuously increased our health sector funding, reaching 1.034 million EUR in 2016.‘

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

As a next step, non-state stakeholder groups have the opportunity to outline their ideas and priorities for the Global Health Strategy in position papers. To facilitate this process, coordinators have been appointed for each of these groups which represent civil society, think tanks, private sector, academia and youth, similar to the engagement groups that were consulted in the preparation of the G20 summit in 2017.

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.

Julia Schmidt, June 2018

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