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Facts and Findings

Global health facing relegation to second-class status?

Dwindling attention, strong competition and limited resources add up to serious concerns going forward into the new (budget) season

Germany has built up an excellent reputation, particularly in the field of global health, which is to be further ensured through the work of the new Subcommittee on Global Health. However, it will be difficult to continue to live up to this standard. Current international developments as well as reduced financial resources of the respective ministries (BMG, BMZ, AA) confirm a dwindling attention for the thematic field.

On 7 September 2022, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze emphasised "strategic foresight, global solidarity and close cooperation between Germany and international partners" in her speech to the Bundestag on her ministry's draft budget in the face of numerous crises. Germany and Europe would benefit "if the security situation and the standard of living in developing countries improve". This is contradicted by cutbacks in the current draft for the 2023 development budget, according to which only around 11 billion euros are earmarked, which is 1.3 billion euros less than in the current year.

This tendency also threatens to perpetuate itself for other ministries (BMG, AA) in view of an announced tightening of expenditure in the next few years. This is because, from a national perspective, there are a number of projects in health policy that are gradually being initiated and are cost-intensive. Above all, the deficits exposed by the Corona pandemic (lacking digitalisation in the health sector) must be crucially addressed. In addition, the foreign, security and energy policy considerations in the wake of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine also compete with Global Health. There are signs of prioritisation in international development cooperation projects. Yet there is no guarantee that global health will take precedence over other development-relevant fields.

The Subcommittee on Global Health, which was re-established in April 2022, now endowed with more members and an interdisciplinary structure, can make a decisive contribution towards anchoring the topic of global health in the Bundestag and beyond. Due to its special position at the interface between internal coordination of health actors (BMG, RKI, Charité) and foreign policy work (BMZ, AA), the subcommittee could generate important impulses for international health policy.

Read the entire Facts & Findings "Global health facing relegation to second-class status? – Dwindling attention, strong competition and limited resources add up to serious concerns going forward into the new (budget) season" here as a PDF.

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