Protecting people from health emergencies together: A ministerial and high-level meeting of the WHO European Region


12–14 February 2019, Istanbul, Turkey

A 3-day ministerial consultation and high-level technical meeting will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 12–14 February 2019, to galvanize the commitment of Member States to full implementation of the first Action Plan to Improve Public Health Preparedness and Response in the WHO European Region.

Following a resolution of the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe which welcomed the Action Plan with appreciation, this meeting will set out the path for a shared vision of coordinated governance and accountability, establish a monitoring and evaluation framework, and identify key areas of action to successfully carry out the Action Plan at the country level.

About the meeting

Participants from 53 countries of the European Region are invited to attend plenary and working group sessions facilitated by WHO experts to:

  • align efforts to improve public health preparedness and response across the European Region around a common vision of governance and shared accountability;
  • discuss the establishment of an oversight structure and monitoring and evaluation framework for the implementation of the Action Plan;
  • share experiences and promote dialogue on synergies, good practices and common challenges between Member States, WHO and partners for the implementation of the Action Plan.
  • identify priority areas where support is required from WHO and partners, as well as innovative approaches for the improvement of public health preparedness and response.

Ultimately, the meeting will aim at ensuring the sustained commitment and leadership of all governments to achieve full implementation of the Action Plan in the European Region.

About the Action Plan

Adequate protection against all health hazards requires high-level political and financial commitment to address the full cycle of emergency management – including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery – supported by whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.

This was the rationale behind the development of the Action Plan.

The Action Plan aims to strengthen and maintain national capacities to effectively prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to public health threats, and to provide assistance to affected countries, when necessary, through three strategic pillars:

  1. Build, strengthen and maintain States Parties’ core capacities required under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005);
  2. Strengthen event management and compliance with the requirements under the IHR (2005);
  3. Measure progress and promote accountability.

About the IHR

The IHR (2005) provide an international legal framework for countries worldwide to protect people from epidemics and other health emergencies. Since their entry into force, WHO has been actively supporting countries in the European Region to implement and maintain IHR core capacities to prevent, prepare, detect and respond to public health threats. Within the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, the IHR are a crucial tool for the management of health emergencies, including disease outbreaks, disasters and environmental crises.