Rapid response to future challenges in health

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The meeting brought together chief medical officers and other high-level decision makers from those Member States of the WHO European Region that lack a liaison officer, to identify how WHO might best support them in the complex, unpredictable environment of western Europe. The meeting operated on several levels, testing how this type of futures forum generates useful dialogue and planning further work. It also considered specific issues, including management in uncertainty, communicating across boundaries, inequity and quality. It underlined the importance of sharing knowledge and experience, providing policy-makers with well evaluated and accessible data and evidence-based public health actions. It was agreed that the Regional Office should respond to short-term information needs and manage the knowledge base for long-term strategy by convening annual Futures Fora, and by facilitating ad hoc meetings to pool experience in the face of emergencies. Future discussion topics were identified, as were other services WHO might provide.