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CM(2009)182 17 December 20091

1076 Meeting, 3 February 2010

6 Social cohesion

6.3 European Health Committee (CDSP) –
Abridged report of the 62nd meeting (Strasbourg, 13-15 October 2009)

For consideration by the GR-SOC at its meeting on 19 January 2010


1. The European Health Committee (CDSP) held its 62nd meeting on 13 -15 October 2009 in Strasbourg, initially under the acting Chairmanship of Mr Otto Christian RØ (Norway), then after elections, under his Chairmanship. The list of participants can be obtained directly from the Health Division.


2. The Committee approved the draft terms of reference and took note of the accompanying logframe for the Expert Committee on Child-Friendly Health Care (SP-CFH) (see document CM(2009)161).2

3. The Committee also approved two draft Recommendations: “on the impact of genetics on the organisation of health care services and training of health professionals”, and on “good governance in health systems”. These are to be submitted to GR-SOC at the earliest possible forthcoming meeting.

4. The Committee would like to draw the attention of the Committee of Ministers to the invitation by the Portuguese authorities to host the 9th Council of Europe Conference of European Health Ministers in late September 2011 on the general theme of child-friendly health care (see paragraph 17 below).


Election of the Chair, Vice-Chair and members of the Bureau

5. Elections were held as follows: Mr Otto Christian RØ (Norway) was elected as new Chairperson and Ms Taru KOIVISTO (Finland) Vice-Chair. The following new Bureau members: Ms Chariklia TZIMAS (Germany), Ms Delphine SORDAT-FORNEROD (Switzerland), Ms Carmen CASTAÑÓN JIMÉNEZ (Spain) and Mr Raymond XERRI (Malta), were elected for the first term. Mr José MARQUES ROBALO (Portugal) was elected for the second term.

Progress report

6. The Committee appreciated the progress made by the Committee of Experts on mobility, migration and access to health care (SP-MIG) on hearing the report on the draft Recommendation provided by Mr Harald SIEM (Norway) (SP-MIG Chair).

Co-operation (internal) - work carried out by other Council of Europe bodies relevant to health issues

7. The Committee took note of the report of the Secretariat (Ms Anna Chiara CERRI) on the follow-up to and implementation of the report of the High Level Task Force on promoting social cohesion in the 21st Century, with the aim of contributing to the implementation of the Social Cohesion Action Plan.

8. The Committee discussed in depth and adopted the Opinion on the feasibility study on a possible European convention on promoting public health policy in the fight against drugs (see Appendix).

Co-operation (external)

9. The Committee noted that a number of participants were able to attend Schools for Health in Europe (SHE) Network activities thanks to Council of Europe support provided in 2009. It also noted connected events that had taken place in the year. The Committee agreed to continue the reduced financial support in 2010 which would still enable non-EU member states to participate in Network activities. The Committee also invited the Network to cooperate and observe the new health project: “Health care in Europe, for and with children”.

10. Concerning the South East European Health Network, the Secretariat and some delegates from the Network presented recent achievements on the way towards self-governance and sustainability of the network, increasingly financed by participating countries. Continued limited financial support and participation by the Council of Europe in the steering bodies of the Network was discussed. In view of the success of the project and the benefits to the Council of Europe of such positive visibility, and considering the decision of the WHO, a partner organisation in the Network, to continue its financial support, the Committee agreed that some financial support should be maintained for the project.

11. The Secretariat informed the Committee that the Head of the WHO Secretariat responsible for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) invited the Council of Europe to request observer participation in the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The delegates welcomed this opportunity and raised the following arguments in favour of obtaining the Council of Europe accreditation as observer to the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention: the FCTC is the first global treaty in public health, opening a new legal dimension for international health cooperation; the absolute majority (44) of the Council of Europe member states are Parties to the Convention; the European Community is a party to the WHO FCTC; human rights aspects are strongly highlighted in the Convention. The Committee entrusted the Secretariat to explore the procedure and report back to the CDSP Bureau on the steps to follow with a view to submitting the necessary request to the Committee of Ministers in due time.

12. The Committee took note of the proposal to hold a workshop from 30 November-1 December in Kiev, Ukraine, on patient safety, to include the possible drafting of a National Patient Safety Action Plan within the framework of the Council of Europe/European Union Joint Programme “Action Plan for Ukraine 2009-2011”.

13. The Committee took note of the WHO EURO oral report on areas of collaboration between the two organisations. The Council of Europe was described as a key partner for WHO EURO: collaboration is crucial for both, as they complement each others’ work. The areas of collaboration include health system strengthening/good governance, mental health, prison health and child health.

Planning future activities

14. In accordance with recently established practice, the Committee held a round table discussion on the role and future activities of the European Health Committee, with the participation of the following former members of the CDSP: Professor ROSCAM-ABBING (the Netherlands), Dr VOIGTLAENDER (Germany) and Dr WIUM (Norway). The Committee entrusted the Bureau to continue leading preparations in providing concrete proposals for follow-up action.

15. The project entitled “Health care in Europe, for and with children” was discussed in more detail. This was approved by the Committee particularly in the light of the Council of Europe’s transversal project for and with children and its ongoing support of the SHE Network.

16. The Committee confirmed its approval of the new project for 2010: “Implementation of Good Governance Principles in Health Care”. This project takes stock of the results of the project “Good governance for equity in health care” and provides follow-up to it.

The 9th Council of Europe Conference of European Health Ministers, Portugal 2011

17. The Portuguese delegate confirmed an invitation to host the 9th Council of Europe Conference of European Health Ministers in late September 2011 on the general theme of child-friendly health care. The Committee welcomed this theme as a contribution to the Council of Europe programme “Building a Europe for and with children” and the Council of Europe Strategy on the rights of the child 2009-2011. It emphasised the added value of the Council of Europe contribution to the human and patient’s rights, ethical and social cohesion dimensions of the issue. The Committee emphasised the complementarity and synergy of the approach to that of the WHO and UNICEF. The Conference would become a launching platform to promote at political level the results of the project “Health care in Europe – for and with children”. Local costs would be borne by the host country; delegations would cover the travel and subsistence costs during the conference. In line with usual practice, the Council of Europe would cover the costs of interpretation, translation/publication of documents, a reception and Secretariat missions. This will amount to approximately €25 000. The preparatory meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials would be at the cost of participants.

Dates of future meetings

18. The 63rd CDSP plenary meeting will be held in Strasbourg on 8-10 June 2010.

The Portuguese delegate made a preliminary proposal to hold a CDSP meeting in Lisbon, back-to-back with a preparatory meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials responsible for preparing the 9th Conference of European Health Ministers.

19. The CDSP Bureau will meet early in 2010.


CDSP opinion on the feasibility study on a possible European convention on promoting public health policy in the fight against drugs


1. The Pompidou Group feasibility study proposes a European framework convention promoting public health policy in the fight against drugs that would be complementary to the existing UN Conventions setting out principles and measures for effective public health policies in the fight against drugs. The proposed approach of the convention would underline the respect for human rights on the one hand while acknowledging existing national and international obligations on the other.

2. An international framework convention shows much promise for meeting regulatory challenges associated with this area for action. By providing an adaptive, international framework that includes principles and measures, such an agreement could play an important facilitating role in implementing effective demand reduction policies for the protection of society against the negative health and social consequences of drug use.

3. A combination of two factors would favour starting work on such a convention at this moment in time:

- an expected convergence of approaches by governmental bodies at the European and international levels,
- a widely expressed political will to merge the human rights and the public health agendas back to the forefront in drugs policies.

Role of the CDSP

4. The CDSP has already expressed a positive opinion “that a feasibility study on whether “to formulate and adopt a new framework convention on drug policy” deserves serious consideration”, as set out in the Addendum.

5. The preliminary draft feasibility study concludes with a proposal for terms of reference for drafting group under the supervision of the Pompidou Group. In complying with the initial idea to involve the CDSP it would be of importance to involve representatives of CDSP in such a drafting group. Resources for the work of the drafting group could be defined under budget of the Pompidou Group thus not putting any additional financial burden on the CDSP.

Key points of the CDSP opinion

6.1.The CDSP recognises the overall need to set up common principles to promote public health policy in the fight against drugs.

6.2 The CDSP expresses an interest and readiness to cooperate in a drafting group should the Pompidou decide to set it up.

6.3 The CDSP could delegate one or more experts to the drafting group.

6.4 Overall, the CSDP holds a favourable opinion on the project to develop measures to further strengthen drug demand reduction.

Addendum to the CDSP opinion on the feasibility study on a possible European convention on promoting public health policy in the fight against drugs

Opinion of the European Health Committee (CDSP)
on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1813

The European Health Committee (CDSP) examined Recommendation 1813 (2007) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and submits the following comments:

1. The CDSP takes note of the Recommendation 1813 (2007) “For a European convention on promoting public health policy in the fight against drugs”, referring to Resolution 1576 (2007).

2. The CDSP recalls that the right to protection of health, as reflected in the objectives set out under Article 8 of Resolution 1576, is a cornerstone of all CDSP strategic documents (terms of reference, statement on the role and scope of future activities of the European Health Committee).

3. The Schools for Health in Europe Network (SHE), previously the European Network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS), supported by the CDSP, is a model framework for spreading important educational messages to young people with regard to drug prevention. The CDSP believes that close ties should be maintained with the Network, particularly as regards drug prevention issues in the school setting and that the Network could continue to be put of good use as a forum for exchange of information and collection and exchange of good practices.

4. The CDSP also recalls two recommendations in the context of drug policy:

a. Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2001)12 on the adaptation of health care services to the demand for health care and health services of people in marginal situations, which proposes “measures targeting the special needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups”, including drug users;

b. Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation R (98) 7 on the ethical and organisational aspects of health care in prison, which contains measures “to develop further alternatives to imprisonment for drug addicts and the setting up of prevention, treatment and reintegration services for prisoners”.

5. The CDSP recalls that already existing United Nations Conventions could eventually be revised to take into account recent developments in the field of public health. The question whether this approach offers comparative advantage over adopting a new framework convention shall be carefully studied, in close collaboration with the Pompidou Group.

6. In conclusion, the CDSP considers that a feasibility study on whether “to formulate and adopt a new framework convention on drug policy” deserves serious consideration, including consideration on the added value of a convention compared to alternative measures.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 2 These terms of reference were approved by the Deputies at their 1073rd meeting on 14 December 2009.



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