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Policy & Global Development

Global Health in the Political Agenda of the New Legislature

The purpose of this document, published at the start of a legislative term in Spain, is to make proposals related to the field of global health for the coming term of government.


Think about the world as it was just four years ago. The legislature that would take us into the third decade of the 21st century was about to begin and the COVID-19 virus did not yet exist. Just a few months later, and for months and months after that, every news bulletin opened with the number of daily infections, hospitalisations and deaths due to the new disease followed by the latest updates on the measures adopted to contain the spread of the virus. The race of scientists to better understand both the virus and the disease and to develop a vaccine was followed in real time by the public. When the acute phase of the health emergency was over, thanks to immunisation, other equally serious crises replaced COVID at the top of the news agenda.

Now think about the fact that scientists have, for years, been warning us about the threats posed by infectious diseases caused by novel pathogens: COVID-19 was the first real example of this threat but it will not be the last. We should therefore also think about the other things scientists are warning us about: the climate emergency and antimicrobial resistance. And we should also bear in mind another scientific milestone, the development of several vaccines against a new disease in record time, an achievement that revealed the current glaring inequality in access to immunisation.

This paper, written by Virginia Rodríguez y Lalama Jabby, proposes that all the considerations listed above should lead us to take concrete action over the next four years. We propose a work agenda for the field of global health that will confirm Spain’s strong commitment to this global public good. Not only because improving the health of people around the world is the right thing to do, but also because global health is a matter of global security.

The aim is to enable Spain to increase the added value of its contributions in this field as well as its influence within the international community. In addition to our experience and capacities, there are other good reasons why Spain should make a strong commitment and aspire to international leadership in global health. From that position, we could better advocate the urgent need to correct the deficiencies and weaknesses in global health identified during the pandemic in the context of the current complex environment affected by multiple crises.

Our aim in this brief is to propose a vision of global health for Spanish society as a whole and for all our public and government institutions. We propose a horizon for joint action taking the form of a coordinated and impact-oriented approach to improving the health of people around the world and a roadmap for developing and implementing such an approach over the next few years.