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The handling of international public health emergencies

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 13708 | 03 February 2015

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Sirkka-Liisa ANTTILA, Finland, ALDE ; Mr André BUGNON, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Geraint DAVIES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Gvozden Srećko FLEGO, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Jean-Claude FRÉCON, France, SOC ; Ms Eva-Lena JANSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Julia KRONLID, Sweden, NR ; Ms Stella KYRIAKIDES, Cyprus, EPP/CD ; Mr Jacob LUND, Denmark, SOC ; Ms Pirkko MATTILA, Finland, NR ; Mr Michael McNAMARA, Ireland, SOC ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr René ROUQUET, France, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Ms Elisabeth SCHNEIDER-SCHNEITER, Switzerland, EPP/CD ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Nikolaj VILLUMSEN, Denmark, UEL

1. The experience of recent major health crises, such as the Ebola outbreak, suggests that the international community is not sufficiently prepared to handle health emergencies. This is due to several factors, including lack of adequate financial and human resources, as well as poor co-ordination and co-operation among different stakeholders.

2. Public health emergencies can have consequences that go far beyond their health-related impact. They can seriously weaken national economies, create fear and panic among the population and threaten national and international security. They can also have an impact on the enjoyment of rights such as the right to education or to free movement.

3. Properly handling public health emergencies becomes all the more relevant in today’s globalised world where diseases have no borders and spread faster than ever. The current Ebola outbreak, in addition to reminding us of our moral obligation to support nations who desperately need our help, is yet another wakeup call bringing home that threats we consider far away may quickly reach our door.

4. International public health emergencies need a fast and efficient response. States must be ready to deal with them both individually and in collaboration, and relevant international and regional health bodies must be given the means to prepare and co-ordinate a proper emergency response.

5. Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly calls on the Council of Europe’s member and observer States to take all necessary measures with a view to increasing the response capacity to international public health emergencies, including by mobilising the essential financial and human resources and capacities, and by adapting the legislation to ensure effective co-ordination and collaboration among stakeholders both in the preparatory and acute crisis phases.