Health Security Series
Roundtable on Health Security Munich (2018)
The MSC continued its work on health security issues and focused this year's roundtable discussion on the crucial topic of healthcare provision in conflict zones. Participants from non-governmental organizations, governments, international organizations as well as the military were present to discuss the implications of the growing number of attacks on healthcare facilities.
Participants agreed that the increasing number of attacks on health care infrastructure constituted a new level of disregard for international humanitarian law, especially of the Geneva Conventions. The discussants deplored that despite the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2286 demanding all actors stop targeting health care infrastructure, there has not been significant improvement. Speakers underscored that it was particularly alarming that not only non-state actors in conflicts carry out those attacks, but state-actors, too.
Health Security and the MSC
Besides its annual flagship conference in Munich, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) Foundation regularly organizes high-profile events around the world. These events include summits and roundtables dedicated to a particular thematic focus like European Defence, Energy Security, Cyber Security, and Health Security.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has increased the awareness among leaders that pandemics and other health crises can pose threats to the stability of entire states and regions and can evolve into full-fledged crises of international security. For this reason, in partnership with Chatham House, Merck, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MSC has launched a series of events on Health Security to establish a platform for senior leaders to discuss and collaborate on pressing global health security issues.
Health Security Roundtables
The Health Security Roundtables bring together decision-makers from government, industry, science, and civil society to advance discussions and help develop strategies on how to mitigate global health security risks. A first Roundtable on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference 2016 focused on the difficulties of providing healthcare in conflict-affected areas. During Health Security Roundtables during the Core Group Meetings in Addis Ababa and Beijing, debates centered on challenges to health security with a special focus on the host region. The MSC also hosted a Health Security Roundtable in Berlin together with M8 Alliance on the sidelines of the World Health Summit 2016. The most recent Health Security Roundtable on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference 2017 focused on pandemic preparedness in ungoverned spaces.
Other Activities on Health Security
In addition to the events specifically dedicated to the topic, health security plays an important role at many MSC activities, including the main conference in Munich and the MSC Core Group Meetings. A panel session at the 52nd Munich Security Conference shed light on major global challenges to health security in the context of the Ebola and Zika viruses. During the MSC Core Group Meeting in Addis Ababa, participants debated health security risks affecting the African continent and their implications for regional and international security.
On October 16, 2017, the Munich Security Conference organized a Health Security Roundtable on the sidelines of the World Health Summit in Berlin. The Roundtable was co-hosted by the MSC and the World Health Summit.
The discussions at the roundtable mostly focused on the fragmentation in Global Health Security leadership after the reforms post-Ebola. The discussants agreed that despite some real progress (e.g. initial reform of WHO's emergency capabilities, increased adherence to Joint External Evaluation), overall progress has been mixed. Accordingly, participants urged the global community to provide more financial resources, identified significant capacity gaps at country level, and asked for clearer accountability mechanisms. As the world faces an unprecedented number of health emergency crises, time is running out in the fight against the next epidemic.
Introductory remarks were offered by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the MSC, Detlev Ganten, Founding President of the World Health Summit, Suerie Moon, Director of Research at the Global Health Centre in Geneva, and Peter Salama, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme at the World Health Organization. The roundtable was moderated by David Heymann, Head and Senior Fellow at Chatham House's Centre on Global Health Security. A report on the roundtable can be found here. See our Media Library for a selection of photos from the event.
The next MSC Health Security Roundtable will take place in during the Munich Security Conference in February 2018.
The MSC organized a Health Security Roundtable at the margins of its Core Group Meeting, which was held on May 9/10 2017, in cooperation with the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The two organizations assembled experts from politics, the military, business, science and non-governmental organizations.
The threat of bioterrorism was the focus of the discussions. The topic has become more relevant again through advances in the field of biotechnology (e.g. CRISPR), which have simplified the manipulation of pathogens significantly, as well as through the continuous terrorist threat. Participants were also interested as to whether the US will pursue its global leadership role in the area of health security under the new US administration led by Donald Trump.
Introductory remarks were offered by Tim Ziemer, Senior Director for Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council, Wendy Sherman, former Under Secretary of State, as well as Rob Nabors, Head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Washington Office. The roundtable was moderated by J. Stephen Morrison, Director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS. A report on the roundtable can be found here.
Health Security Roundtable in Munich (February 2017)
On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference 2017, which took place from February 17 to 19, the MSC hosted together with Chatham House and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the Health Security Roundtable "Ready or Not? Addressing Gaps in the Global Surveillance and Response System." The roundtable brought together leadings experts and representatives of organizations from the field of Health Security to discuss the issues of pandemic preparedness in ungoverned spaces as well as attacks on health care infrastructure.
Among the high-ranking participants of the roundtable were Christopher Elias (President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Joanne Liu (International President of Médecins Sans Frontières), Peter Maurer (President of the International Committee of the Red Cross), Alaa Murabit (Founder and President of The Voice of Libyan Women), Stefan Oschmann (Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Merck), Peter Salama (Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme of the World Health Organization) and Thomas D. Waldhauser (Commander of the African Command of the United States of America). The roundtable was moderated by Robin Niblett (Director of Chatham House).
Read Chatham House's report on the roundtable here.
Health Security Roundtable in Berlin (2016)
On October 9, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) organized a Health Security Roundtable on the sidelines of the World Health Summit at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Together with the M8 Alliance, the MSC brought together leading representatives from international organizations, policy-makers, and researchers to discuss current challenges for global health security.
The debate mainly revolved around the nexus between health and security and the lessons learned from recent health security crises, especially the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Among the Roundtable participants were Detlev Ganten, Founding President of the World Health Summit, Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director for Africa of the World Health Organization, Victor J. Dzau, President, National Academy of Medicine, Yves Daccord, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as Florian Westphal, Director of Médécins Sans Frontières, Germany. For more info on the event, take a look at the conference report as well as selected photos from the event.