“If we are to achieve better health for all, we must fight for this in other arenas than the traditional health forums. The health perspective must be put on the foreign policy agenda, for instance when we discuss trade, human rights, humanitarian efforts and peacebuilding,” commented Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre when he launched a new international collaborative research project on global health at Harvard University today.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre today launched a new collaborative research project that will explore the links between foreign policy and global health. The collaboration includes research institutions in five countries: Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, the US and Norway.
“We need a better understanding of the impact of various foreign policy domains on health, and what methods we should use to promote global health solutions in international politics,” Mr Støre said in his lecture.
The research project will analyse and document how foreign political priorities affect health, and how states’ global health efforts influence foreign policy. The project is linked to the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative , in which Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, France, Thailand, Senegal and Norway participate with a view to putting the health-foreign policy nexus on the international agenda.
Mr Støre said that epidemics such as SARS and H1N1 have reminded us that “national borders offer little protection against global health risks”, and “that national interests and national economy are dependent on global health conditions”.
Research institutions from five countries are involved in the project. The participating Norwegian institutions are the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and the Environment. Harvard University is representing the US, through its Harvard School of Public Health, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Harvard Institute for Global Health. Indonesia is represented by the Gadjah Mada University, Brazil by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), and South Africa by the South Africa Institute of International Affairs.