Setting the agenda for WHO and European Union collaboration

This week a WHO steering committee is preparing for the next meeting of senior officials of the European Commission and WHO, to be held in Brussels on 24–25 March 2011. The steering committee comprises WHO regional directors and assistant directors-general, and one of its roles is to identify the key priorities for WHO and European Union (EU) cooperation.

Meetings of senior officials are held annually to take stock of recent developments in the cooperation, agree on common interests and map joint priorities for the following year and beyond. The meeting in March will set the agenda for the next three years and endorse joint roadmaps for priority areas, which will then be used to make specific work plans.

The framework for cooperation includes six priority areas: innovation and research, health security, health information, health systems, health inequalities and cooperation in countries. These areas are part of the joint declaration of the European Commission and WHO/Europe, signed during the sixtieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2010.