Good capacity for health security means that every country is capable of preventing, detecting and responding to a wide range of health threats and emergencies that carry health consequences. Countries’ commitment at the highest level and across sectors of governance following a OneHealth approach is central in building and maintaining health security capacity.

Health risks do not recognize country borders, and global action is needed. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 sets as one of its targets to strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.

The WHO International Health Regulations present an obligation for State Parties to detect, assess, report and respond to public health emergencies of international concern. The OIE international standards and guidelines constitute the basis for external country evaluations of the quality of Veterinary Services and Animal Health Systems. Codex Alimentarius international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice provide an important contribution to ensuring food safety globally.

Health emergencies of the past years and the globalization of trade and travel have made it clear that health threats stem from and affect in all spheres of society, and that all actors have their roles and responsibilities in preventing, detecting and responding to crises. This need for an all hazard approach is underlined by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Health security capacity building is a process with several important steps.

  1. External evaluation. To improve their health security capacities, countries need information about the strengths and weaknesses in their existing systems. This can be done through a voluntary, external evaluation.
  2. Country planning. The situation analysis helps a country to draw up a multisectoral plan for capacity building. The country plan is costed an acted upon by different national stakeholders, with the support from donors and other partners, as necessary.
  3. Capacity building. Capacities for health security are built within societies’ structures. The independent assessment and the country plan mark a beginning of a long-term improvement of the health system and preparedness.

The JEE Alliance supports collaboration at national, regional and global levels with the aim of promoting JEEs and other external evaluation processes and sharing of results to mobilize resources for national planning; enhancing multisectoral, multi-stakeholder collaboration; and finding ways for sustainable financing of country capacity building.