PART III: HIV/AIDS and Global Health - G8 Guidebook

4.Global Health as an Agenda Item

  1. Overview
  2. Experience from the 2008 G8 Process
  3. Evaluation


Since the Kyushu-Okinawa G8 Summit in 2000, infectious diseases had become one of the major agenda items within global issues of the G8. Every year, some kind of discussion on this topic takes place, followed by a new commitment.

On HIV/AIDS, at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit and the 2006 St. Petersburg G8 Summit, the G8 countries committed to the attainment of Universal Access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and prevention by 2010.

Not until the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 Summit, had Health System Strengthening become a major topic within the global health agenda of the G8. Meanwhile, adequate and necessary focus and commitment on the improvement of maternal health was lacking due to the particular position of the U.S. Republican Administration. The same could be said with the lack of discussion and commitments on the reduction of child mortality rate.

NGOs working on global health issues needs to work to ensure that Millennium Development Goals that are off track of being met, will become a major topic within the global health agenda every year of the G8. This requires more then NGOs calling upon the government for the attainment of the goals, but to work with various formal and informal sectors that can cooperate with NGOs so that the decision of the Governements to make global health as an major agenda item will become a reality.

As NGOs working on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, it is necessary to urge the G8 governments to not only work on the policy-making process for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and health system strengthening (HSS), but also work to ensure the implementation of the pledges and programs of infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS, which already has a policy and framework.

2Experience from the 2008 G8 Process

  1. The Global Health Committee of the 2008 G8 Summit Forum called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that global health is one of the main agenda items of the G8.
  2. A year before Japan took its turn as the G8 chair, civil society of the G8 country had began some contact with private foundations and bilateral aid agencies interested in bringing focus to global health issues. The Global Health Committee took advantage of these contact opportunities to create a network, so that these various sectors could work as one to push the Japanese Government to place global health as one of the major agenda items of the G8.
  3. Outside the Forum, a large movement that took place to ensure global health as one of the major agenda items was the "Challenges in Global Health and Japan's Contributions: Research and Dialogue Project" and its working group (also known as the Takemi Working Group:
    See: )
    led by Keizo Takemi, former Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare and former, as well as Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. Funding was provided by the Gates Foundation and Japan Center for International Exchange served as the secretariat. They helped create an opportunity for advocacy to top-level officials, such as the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The participation of NGO members in this working group was a breakthough because it has made it possible for advocacy to the top level officials to include the assertions of NGOs.
  4. Such movements paved the way to Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura to state on November 2007, in a policy speech on global health, "to develop a set of common framework for action [on global health] shared by the international community".This speech set global health as one of targets for the Toya-ko Summit.
    ( See: )


The above processes helped push global health into becoming one of the central issues within the broader development agenda. For NGOs working on global health, this has created a tremendous opportunity.

However, many issues exist within the global health, such as maternal and child health, Health System Strengthening and infectious diseases. Throughout 2007-2008, there were much heated debates on which of these issues to emphasize within the area of global health policies.

Furthermore, Japan has traditionally favored a horizontal approach or an overall approach such as those centered around Health System Strengthening, than a vertical or a straightforward approach, which focused specifically on certain diseases. Japan has arrived at their global health policy by emphasizing on this overall approach.

At this stage, there had been disappearing momentum on tackling HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases within the context of policy discussions for the G8. Although policy frameworks and commitments were already in place for infectious diseases, there were questions to whether they would keep those commitments. The Global Health Committee worked to balance the NGOs focusing on certain issues as Health System Strengthening, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases and called for a scale up in the global health sector as a whole.

Furthermore, the Takemi Working Group also took a similar position as NGO's. Thus, infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS were ranked high on the agenda of the G8.

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