Building Resilience to Health Crisis through Enhanced Cooperation in the Western Mediterranean: the role of the Dialogue 5+5 in a Post COVID-19 Era

20 May 2020. From 15:00 | Conference | English | French | Online
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Western Mediterranean countries have been severly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This health crisis has uncovered the respective degree of unpreparedness of the different countries of the region, putting a huge strain on their health systems. Despite the international competition for medical equipment and potential treatments being on public display, this crisis has also shown that, facing a common challenge such as the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation, coordination and solidarity are more than ever required. In the aftermath of the crisis, our capacity to cope with similar health hazards will be inevitably reassessed. It will eventually lead us to (re)build sustainable and resilient health care systems. Cooperation will definitely need to be a valuable part of this process.

Compared to other fields of regional cooperation, the health topic has not historically attracted deserved attention from Mediterranean partners. However, potential benefits are clear: by sharing practices and experiences and making the best of existing resources and capacities, Mediterranean countries would support health development and resilience, realize common health objectives and foster regional cooperation and eventually, integration.

The 5+5 Dialogue gathering countries from the northern and southern shores of the Western Mediterranean Basin appears to be one of the most relevant frameworks to develop such a cooperation in the area of health. The Foreign Ministers of the 5+5 Dialogue countries have expressed their interest in making health issues a fully-fledged area of cooperation (foreign affairs ministerial declarations in Lisbon 2014 and Tangier 2015), but the initiative has not gone beyond the organization of technical working groups. In face of the lessons learned of the COVID-19 health crisis, it seems now very timely for the 5+5 Dialogue to further engage in a long-term cooperation on health issues in the Western Mediterranean.

This MedThink 5+5 webinar aims at highlighting the potential benefits of an intensified cooperation on health issues at the level of the 5+5 Dialogue that identifies and discusses specific priority issues where North-South and South-South cooperation can be stepped up with the aim to develop the basis for common health policies in the Mediterranean.