18 July 2023 – As part of the EU-CELAC Summit, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and Director of Health Systems and Services of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr James Fitzgerald signed a €3,8 million agreement building a partnership to strengthen Latin American and Caribbean access to healthcare technology. Under Global Gateway, the EU’s positive offer to build sustainable and trusted links with partner countries, the partnership is underpinned by both organisations’ common goal of promoting increased equitable access to quality-assured, safe, effective, and affordable health technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “I am proud that we are strengthening cooperation for healthier and stronger people in both our regions together with our Latin American and Caribbean friends at PAHO, in line with the EU-LAC partnership on health launched last year. The partnership we are building illustrates what the EU’s Global Gateway strategy is all about: ensuring a clean, fair green, and digital transition, which has the people at its centre. The aim is that our citizens can live longer, happier lives and that we can overcome together diseases such as COVID-19, malaria, yellow fever, tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.”
Director Fitzgerald said: “PAHO values this new partnership with the European Commission to scale capacity in innovation and manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and other health technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is only through such partnership will we be better prepared to develop the technologies we need to address regional health needs, including during times of pandemics.”
The EU and PAHO share the common goal of promoting increased equitable access to quality-assured, safe, effective, and affordable health technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Based on these values, the partnership with PAHO is supported through an EU contribution agreement of €3 million. The agreement’s total budget is €3.8 million, of which PAHO will contribute €800,000.
The EU and PAHO, having joined forces successfully on several occasions, have decided to work together again in advancing the following objectives:
- Strengthened policy ecosystems and legal frameworks conducive to effective access to affordable health technologies of assured quality in Latin America and the Caribbean;
- Improved conditions for successful technology transferring and knowledge sharing in Latin America and the Caribbean;
- Increased capacities for local development and production of health technologies, in Latin America and the Caribbean and
- Regulatory systems for health technologies strengthened by advancing networks, regulatory convergence, harmonization, and the use of reliance mechanisms in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Deepening Healthcare cooperation between EU, Latin America and the Caribbean
The contribution agreement supports the main objectives of the EU-LAC partnership on health, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez in June 2022 (EU – Latin America and Caribbean partnership on local manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and other health technologies, and strengthening health systems resilience). It focuses in particular on strengthening regulatory frameworks technologies transfers, increasing manufacturing capacities that remain key drivers to enable in the area of a sustainable pharmaceutical production and private sector investment. This objective is fully aligned with the regional Plan for self-sufficiency in health matters, endorsed by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in September 2021. In this context, PAHO is an indispensable partner for the EU.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is the specialized international health agency and regional health office for the World Organisation for the Americas. It is the reference in health for the LAC region and a solid and reliable partner with extensive experience in providing technical cooperation to Member States of the Americas. It is committed to ensuring that all people have access to the health care they need, when they need it, with quality and without fear of falling into poverty. Through its work, PAHO promotes and supports the right of everyone to good health.