Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Opening of the 5th World Health Summit at the Federal Foreign Office on Oct 20th, 2013

20.10.2013 - Speech

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Dear President Barroso,
Dear Minister Daniel Bahr,
Dear Prof. Wong,
Dear Prof. Ganten
Dear Mrs. Grüters-Kieslich,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the great pleasure of welcoming you to the Fifth World Health Summit in the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.

Health is an essential human right and a pre-condition for human development, individually and collectively: Without better health we will not achieve development anywhere.

Health is the basis for social, economic and political development and for stability. Health care systems are vulnerable to destruction in times of crises and conflicts. That is why aspects of global health can become key issues of foreign policy.

Today, health is a global issue. Most of the world’s big health challenges are not confined to a national level.

This summer the Federal Government has issued a strategy paper on Global Health which outlines Germany`s main goals and priorities for the years to come. My colleague Daniel Bahr will tell you more about it.Pandemics, outbreaks of contagious diseases, non-communicable diseases are global phenomena.

I am glad that we are hosting this year’s World Health Summit at the Federal Foreign Office. This does not only reflect the international dimension of health issues but also the role of modern preventive diplomacy in addressing global topics such as climate change, energy-security, water and, last but not least, health.

Germany is committed to a strong and constructive role in the field of Global Health.

We live in a world of more than 7 billion people. There is no doubt that health must remain a priority on the agenda of the international community in the future.

In former times national governments could cooperate. Today, in times of globalization, national governments must cooperate.

This is not only the case for health. But it is especially true for health because the health care sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide. And it will further gain importance due to demographic changes in the world.

National governments cannot resolve all challenges and changes alone. We need the cooperation of science, economic and civil society with politics in order to find solutions.

Globalization and global networking is not only a challenge but also a great chance: One can benefit from the experience, research and development of others.

German health care suppliers for example are acknowledged internationally because they can provide integrated solutions. Many German companies are world market leaders in their fields. German technology suppliers possess valuable experience in realizing health care projects both at home and abroad.

If all of us strengthen the existing constructive international cooperation, we will be able to fight against the world’s big health challenges. I feel certain that this World Health Summit will make a major contribution to this goal.

I thank you for your attendance and wish you stimulating discussions at this 5th World Health Summit.

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