Global Health and Human Security
JCIE’s Global Health and Human Security Program encourages Japan and other wealthy countries to translate their commitments on improving global health into concrete action. In the first phase of the program from September 2007 to July 2008, JCIE organized a high-level working group to explore new international approaches to global health challenges and the contributions that Japan can make in this area in the year leading up to the July 2008 Toyako G8 Summit. The Working Group on Challenges in Global Health and Japan’s Contributions was chaired by Keizo Takemi, JCIE senior fellow and former senior vice minister of health, labor, and welfare, and produced a set of recommendations for the Japanese government based on intense consultations with key experts around the world.
The second phase of the program, from August 2008 to October 2009, helped ensure that political momentum for global health was maintained during the transition to the 2009 G8 Summit in Italy, including the release of a major report in January 2009 compiling policy recommendations for the G8 countries. In July 2009, the working group’s membership expanded, and it was redesigned as the Global Health and Human Security Program within JCIE, giving the activities more institutional structure and sustainability.
In the third phase of the program, from November 2009 onward, JCIE has been exploring ways for Japan to enhance its leadership role in global health over the long term and to build domestic and international support for such a role. The program seeks to help define a robust, comprehensive, innovative Japanese policy on global health with the support of leaders from all sectors in Japan; explore lessons from Japan’s own experience that can be applied to other countries’ health systems; strengthen the role of Japan’s nongovernmental sector in global health; and develop a better understanding of the critical value of human security to global health.
Phase III. Global Health and Human Security Program (October 2009–Present)
Since July 2009, the working group has been institutionalized within JCIE as the Global Health and Human Security (GH&HS) Program, steered by a multisectoral executive committee that expands upon the membership of the original working group to include a more diverse range of health experts from the government, civil society, businesses, and academia. The GH&HS Program, which looks at Japan’s role far beyond the G8 process, aims to establish a stronger base of support for global health among political and government leaders as well as to build increased public awareness in Japan about global health issues. Through this program, JCIE aims to increase understanding of the successes and challenges in Japan’s health system and draw lessons for other countries that are facing similar challenges, as well as increase understanding of the relevance of the human security framework—which the Japanese government promotes as a pillar of its foreign policy—to the global health field. Since its establishment, the GH&HS Program has organized seminars on health and human security in New York and Dakar, Senegal, and launched a special series on Japan’s health system in renowned international medical journal the Lancet.
Phase II. Global Action for Health System Strengthening (August 2008–October 2009)
Following the Toyako G8 Summit, the working group was encouraged by the Japanese government to translate the 2008 G8 Summit recommendations into concrete proposals for ways in which the G8 member countries and other stakeholders should be working to strengthen health systems in developing countries. A task force was set up to serve as a catalyst to synthesize existing initiatives for health system strengthening within the framework of human security. Three research teams were formed within the task force to look in-depth at the entry points for health system strengthening that were proposed at the G8 Summit—the health workforce, health information, and health financing. The research was designed to inform the task force’s exploration of the overall question of how to build integrated health systems that are able to (1) respond to the challenges of both providing primary healthcare and tackling individual diseases, (2) achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals, and (3) enhance the human security of people around the world. A major international conference and a series of workshops and meetings were convened in Tokyo and elsewhere around the world, and the resulting discussions formed the basis for a final report that was submitted in January 2009 to the Japanese government, which in turn handed the report to the government of Italy, as the latter prepared to chair the 2009 G8 Summit. Many of the ideas in the report were, in fact, reflected in the G8 Leaders Declaration of the 2009 L'Aquila Summit. Excerpts from the program's research were also featured in a special section in the Lancet. This initiative was organized with generous support from the government of Japan, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other stakeholders.
As a follow-up to the working group’s final report, Global Action for Health System Strengthening—Policy Recommendations to the G8, the task force of global health experts embarked on a multi-region dissemination seminar tour during the first half of 2009. The dissemination seminars were held on three continents—Asia, North America, and Africa—during the months leading up to the G8 Summit in Italy. In addition to the seminars, working group and task force members discussed the findings and recommendations in the report at meetings convened by other organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.
Phase I. Challenges in Global Health and Japan's Contributions (September 2007–July 2008)
The project working group was formed in September 2007 to encourage collaboration among top experts and policymakers in Japan and around the world in the lead up to the July 2008 Toyako G8 Summit. The group compiled a report, “Global Health, Human Security, and Japan’s Contributions,” based on discussions with practitioners and other experts from international organizations, major policy research institutes, government agencies, implementing NGOs, and other institutions around the world. This was designed to help prioritize global health on the G8 Summit agenda, as well as in the May 2008 Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). The report was submitted to a major international symposium, which was organized on May 23–24, 2008, by the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.