Crisis preparedness and response

Global Health Security Initiative

At the global level, the EU collaborates with international players on health security issues. As a member of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI), the European Commission has been working closely with the WHO and the "G7+" states (USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Mexico) in an effort to create an effective and well-organised global strategy for preparedness and responses to the potential health threats.


The Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) was set up in November 2001, under the leadership of former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was envisaged as an informal group of like-minded countries to address health issues of the day.


The GHSI Ministerial Forum consists of Ministers/Secretaries/Commissioner for Health from "G7+" countries and the European Commission. The World Health Organisation is involved as a technical advisor.

Although only four EU Member States are members of the GHSI, the membership of the Commission assures that results of GHSI work will be made available through the Health Security Committee to all Member States.

GHSI Achievements

Major achievements of the GHSI include:

  • Strengthened smallpox preparedness and response
  • Improving international communication and risk management
  • Testing and enhancing laboratory capacity
  • Advancing global pandemic influenza preparedness and response
  • Preparation efforts against chemical and radiological threats


The Commission hosted a GHSI special ministerial meeting on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in Brussels in September 2009. It was agreed to co-operate further on Pandemic (H1N1) issues to assure coherent and evidenced based approaches to mineralise the impact of the current pandemic.