Oslo Ministerial Declaration -- Global Health: A Pressing Foreign Policy Issue of Our Time
Støre, Jonas Gahr
Lancet 2007 April 21-27; 369(9570): 1373-1378
Under their initiative on Global Health and Foreign Policy, launched in September, 2006, in New York, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, South Africa, and Thailand issued the following statement in Oslo on March 20, 2007-In today's era of globalisation and interdependence there is an urgent need to broaden the scope of foreign policy. Together, we face a number of pressing challenges that require concerted responses and collaborative efforts. We must encourage new ideas, seek and develop new partnerships and mechanisms, and create new paradigms of cooperation. We believe that health is one of the most important, yet still broadly neglected, long-term foreign policy issues of our time. Life and health are our most precious assets. There is a growing awareness that investment in health is fundamental to economic growth and development. It is generally acknowledged that threats to health may compromise a country's stability and security. We believe that health as a foreign policy issue needs a stronger strategic focus on the international agenda. We have therefore agreed to make impact on health a point of departure and a defining lens that each of our countries will use to examine key elements of foreign policy and development strategies, and to engage in a dialogue on how to deal with policy options from this perspective. As Ministers of Foreign Affairs, we will work to: increase awareness of our common vulnerability in the face of health threats by bringing health issues more strongly into the arenas of foreign policy discussions and decisions, in order to strengthen our commitment to concerted action at the global level; build bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation for global health security by strengthening the case for collaboration and brokering broad agreement, accountability, and action; reinforce health as a key element in strategies for development and for fighting poverty, in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals; ensure that a higher priority is given to health in dealing with trade issues and in conforming to the Doha principles, affirming the right of each country to make full use of TRIPS flexibilities in order to ensure universal access to medicines; strengthen the place of health measures in conflict and crisis management and in reconstruction efforts. For this purpose, we have prepared a first set of actionable steps for raising the priority of health in foreign policy in an Agenda for Action. We pledge to pursue these issues in our respective regional settings and in relevant international bodies. We invite Ministers of Foreign Affairs from all regions to join us in further exploring ways and means to achieve our objectives.
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