Tomorrow (18 March) the Federal Foreign Office is hosting the 23rd Forum on Global Issues on the subject "Global Health – The World's Health in International Politics". Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, will give the keynote speech on "The Impact of Global Crises on Health: Money, Weather, and Microbes". Federal Foreign Office State Secretary Reinhard Silberberg will open the conference.
Health issues increasingly have important implications also for foreign policy. Pandemics, new diseases and bioterrorism could all pose threats to national and international security. The SARS epidemic in spring 2003 and the outbreaks of avian flu around the world in autumn 2005 highlighted the need to coordinate international disease control efforts. The World Health Organization (WHO) plays the key role in coordinating global cooperation and elaborating international standards.