Strengthen a vital partnership between WHO and France


On December 7, 2020, high-level representatives of the French government and the WHO came together virtually for their annual strategic dialogue to take stock of the collaboration during 2020 and discuss the main common priorities of collaboration for 2021. The objective of the meeting was to agree on ways to improve cooperation and a roadmap around key areas: the WHO Academy, health emergency preparedness and response, including response to COVID-19, investing in resilient health systems, particularly through primary health care and multilateralism in health with a strengthened WHO as a leader in global health.
“Today, France and WHO are joining forces on key health priorities, which further deepens their already existing partnership,” said Ms. Jane Ellison, WHO Executive Director for External Relations and governance. “We are honored to count France among our best contributors and fervent supporters in all circumstances.”

The meeting had a strong focus on the next steps for the WHO Academy, a special priority initiative of the WHO Director-General, supported by France. The world’s largest and most innovative lifelong learning platform in global health will provide high-tech learning environments in a “hub” in Lyon. The WHO Academy, which aims to reach 10 million learners worldwide by 2023, will be a game-changer in lifelong learning in health and help achieve the WHO’s “triple billion” goal.

Other health topics such as the role of the International Health Regulations (IHR), the future of the WHO Lyon office, the progress of the COVID-19 tool access accelerator (ACT) – a collaboration global initiative initiated by WHO, France and other partners, and Universal health coverage centered on primary health care was discussed.

This meeting was also an opportunity for France to stress the importance of strengthened multilateralism and its support for the essential role that WHO plays in providing a coordinated response to global health challenges.

The annual strategic dialogue comes at a time when France has reaffirmed its strong commitment and leadership in global health with three key announcements this year: 1) the launch of the ACT-Accelerator initiative by President Emmanuel Macron, the WHO and partners to support development and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines 2) an additional contribution of € 50 million to pilot the ACT-Accelerator initiative through WHO to scale up the global response to COVID-19 pandemic for 2020-2021 3) The launch of a High Level Expert Council is moving forward with the One Health approach to strengthen prevention and preparedness for emerging zoonotic diseases.

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