WHO Europe Priorities for 2022

WHO, 28 January 2021

Following a busy 2021 – which saw a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the release of recommendations on building resilience and recovery from the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, the launch of the Mental Health Coalition, and endorsement of the European Immunization Agenda 2030, among many highlights – WHO/Europe looks ahead to 2022 with a continued focus on delivering the European Programme of Work.

Several priority areas will drive WHO/Europe’s work throughout 2022–2023, including: mental health, immunization, cancer, access to medicines, migration and health, health emergencies, behavioural and cultural insights, reducing alcohol consumption, tackling childhood obesity, One Health and primary health care.

The list below reflects these priorities, including some key events over the coming 12 months.


Oslo Medicines Initiative webinar series (13 January–10 February)
A series of 5 webinars scheduled from mid-January and co-hosted with the Ministry of Health and Care Services of Norway will kick off renewed focus on the Oslo Medicines Initiative ahead of a major event planned for June. The initiative aims to improve people’s access to novel, high-priced medicines by bringing together the public and private sectors across the WHO European Region.

Economics of Ageing Spotlight Series (18 January–1 February)
Population ageing is often seen as bad for the economy and unsustainable from the perspective of health systems. But is it really? The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies will host 3 webinars on the economics of ageing, covering the revenue to pay for care, expenditure on health and social care, and the politics of population ageing. Speakers will investigate key policy questions associated with population ageing, bringing together evidence from research and country experiences.


World Cancer Day (4 February)
WHO/Europe will host a high-level conference on cancer – planned to take place on 1 February – ahead of World Cancer Day. Marking 12 months since the launch of United Action Against Cancer, the conference continues WHO/Europe’s work with strategic partners and influencers towards the aim of eliminating cancer as a life-threatening disease.

International Childhood Cancer Day (15 February)
WHO/Europe will launch a new report on childhood cancer inequalities in the European Region. The report highlights the differences which exist between and within countries in terms of the distance that patients have to travel for treatment, the extent of any out-of-pocket costs they are required to pay, the degree to which standardized treatment protocols are available, the availability of the medications and treatments patients need, and the support care that they can access in later life.

European Health Report (24 February)
The European Health Report is set for release in February. The flagship report charts progress towards achieving health goals as well as advancement towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s report is particularly important – taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighting health projections until 2030.


World Obesity Day (4 March)
WHO/Europe will use the occasion of World Obesity day to launch the “Obesity in Europe” report, and raise awareness and improve understanding of the root causes of obesity and the actions needed to address them. Working with key stakeholders, WHO/Europe is seeking to change policy to build the right support systems for the future by creating healthy environments that prioritize obesity as a health issue.

High-level meeting on health and migration in the WHO European Region: jointly shaping the vision for the health of refugees and migrants (17–18 March)
At a high-level meeting on health and migration, hosted by WHO/Europe, health ministers and representatives of the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region will meet to discuss strategic priorities for health and migration beyond 2022.


World Health Day (7 April)
Every year WHO and partners mark World Health Day. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to cause suffering around the world, the importance of investing in health, and ensuring access to universal health care, is being recognized like never before.

Rethinking the future of hospitals (21–22 April)
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed hospitals under the spotlight. A new hospital landscape has been revealed, with increased outpatient treatment, shortened length of stays and flexible capacity – highlighting the importance of resilient infrastructure and a well-trained and well-resourced health workforce. This first-ever summit on hospitals led by WHO/Europe will bring together national policy-makers, practitioners, hospital administrators and experts to outline how WHO can work with countries to craft a new vision for hospitals in the wider health-care system.

European Immunization Week (EIW) (24–30 April)
Vaccination against COVID-19 continues to make headlines around the Region as more people get immunized against the disease. But in addition to COVID-19 there remain many other vaccine-preventable diseases which require continued attention – such as measles and polio. This year’s EIW follows the endorsement of the European Immunization Agenda 2030 (EIA2030) at last year’s session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. As part of the implementation of EIA2030, a European Immunization Board will be launched by the WHO Regional Director for Europe during EIW.


European Public Health Week (EUPHW) (16–20 May)
Organized by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) every year since 2019, and supported by WHO/Europe, EUPHW aims to raise awareness about public health and promote collaboration among the public health community across the Region. This year’s overarching theme is “Health throughout the life course”, with daily themes ranging from vaccination to climate change to mental health. The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies will be involved in the last day of EUPHW, which is dedicated to resilient health systems.

World Health Assembly 2022 (22–28 May)
The World Health Assembly brings together representatives from countries around the world to determine the policies that guide WHO’s work, approve the proposed programme budget and appoint WHO’s Director-General.

Global Rapid Response Mobile Laboratories (RRML/GOARN) Simulation Exercise (30 May–4 June)
A large-scale field exercise organized by WHO/Europe and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) will take place in Turkey, the final part in a series of activities that have taken place. The exercise is intended to help strengthen the response to health emergencies – including practicing deployment of mobile laboratories and refining newly developed standards.

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) (31 May)
WNTD was created by the Member States of WHO in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. Every year, on 31 May, WNTD is celebrated, with a different theme to cover the broad range of measures within the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.


Eighth high-level meeting of the Small Countries Initiative (1–3 June)
This eighth high-level meeting, taking place in Montenegro on the topic of “Health and sustainable tourism”, will bring together leaders and practitioners from the 11 countries in the network to exchange experiences on the impact of tourism on health and well-being, as well as how to revitalize tourism with health and well-being for all as its priority. The conference will lead to a series of strategic inputs for countries to revitalize healthy and sustainable tourism.

Oslo Medicines Initiative Conference (13–16 June)
Ensuring access to affordable, high-quality novel medicines for everyone is the driving force of the Oslo Medicines Initiative – a partnership between WHO/Europe and the Government of Norway. This conference offers an opportunity for partners to engage and help make this vision a reality – where access to medicines benefits the health of people across the Region, without pushing them into financial hardship.

Tirana 2022 Health and Well-being Forum for Youth (15–16 June)
With 2022 designated by the European Union as the European Year of Youth, WHO/Europe will aim to highlight youth-led health interventions at this high-level summit to be held in mid-June in Albania. WHO/Europe is working to increase engagement with youth in the Region to ensure they are included in the implementation of the WHO European Programme of Work. The Forum will focus on the topics of mental health, climate change, gender and health, physical activity and nutrition.

European Health Management Association (EHMA) Conference (15–17 June)
The EHMA 2022 annual conference on the theme “From people to systems: leadership for a sustainable future” will take place in Brussels, Belgium. The conference will bring together key health-care stakeholders, providing the latest evidence to guide the much-needed transformation of health systems. It will support managers and health systems to excel in a time where the complexity of the challenge ahead is immense.


World Hepatitis Day (28 July)
Each year WHO and partners campaign on World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about hepatitis and how with vaccination we can prevent many cases of the disease, and through prompt detection people can receive treatment.


72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (12–14 September)
Taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel, this year’s Regional Committee session will bring together representatives from WHO Member States across the European Region to discuss and vote on priority health topics. This year’s session will focus on priority areas of WHO/Europe’s work including: digital health; behavioural and cultural insights; One Health; cancer; HIV, hepatitis and TB; and people with disabilities.

World Patient Safety Day (17 September)
Marked annually since 2019, the day promotes global understanding of patient safety, increases public engagement in the safety of health care and promotes global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.

Behavioural and Cultural Insights Summer School (Dates to be confirmed)
Over the course of 5 days in September, WHO/Europe’s behavioural and cultural insights (BCI) team will host a summer school, providing experts in Russian-speaking countries with training on BCI to support their planning and engagement on BCI activities.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month
As part of United Action Against Cancer, WHO/Europe will make a strong push for awareness on breast cancer during the month of October, highlighting the risk factors, social and commercial determinants and the policies that we know are effective.

World Mental Health Day (10 October)
The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. Through the work of its newly launched Pan-European Mental Health Coalition, WHO/Europe will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what needs to be done to support people’s mental health everywhere across the Region.

World Polio Day (WPD) (24 October)
2022 marks 20 years since the WHO European Region was declared polio free. The path to reaching and sustaining this achievement will be highlighted during WPD as a reminder of the continued importance of vaccinating against this disease until it is eradicated globally.


27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (7–18 November)
Convention Parties will report on their progress towards more ambitious climate action to ensure that the goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 °C over pre-industrial levels is not forgotten. COP27 will also follow up on commitments from the Health Programme on developing climate-resilient and sustainable low-carbon health systems.

15th European Public Health (EPH) Conference (9–12 November)
This year’s EPH Conference will take place in Berlin, Germany under the theme “Strengthening health systems: improving population health and being prepared for the unexpected”. Subthemes include lessons learned from COVID-19, the role of Europe in global health, reducing health inequity, information systems, health system performance, and training for the clinical and public health workforce.

World Diabetes Day (14 November)
Approximately 64 million people in the WHO European Region suffer from diabetes. Recently, WHO launched the Global Diabetes Compact to boost efforts to prevent diabetes and bring equitable, comprehensive, affordable and good-quality treatment and care to all who need it. The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to raise awareness among governments, key global health actors and donors of the urgent challenge before them, of the opportunities to improve access to diabetes medicines and diagnostics, and of the action needed to improve prevention, diagnosis and management through the Global Diabetes Compact.

Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the Protocol on Water and Health (16–18 November)
The Protocol, jointly supported by WHO/Europe and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), is the prime European policy platform on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health. MOP6 will assess existing and emerging WASH realities and challenges in the Region and set a new agenda of regional priorities in response to global crises such as climate change and COVID-19.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18–24 November)
The overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines in humans, livestock and agriculture, as well as poor sanitation and hygiene have driven the development of drug-resistant infections. This week-long event aims to encourage best practices among the public, health workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of such infections.


World AIDS Day (1 December)
World AIDS Day brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. It has become one of the most widely recognized international health days and an opportunity to commemorate those who have died, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day (12 December)
Every year, WHO marks UHC Day to review progress and identify gaps in ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can access the health care they need, close to where they live and without falling into financial hardship. With COVID-19 exacerbating health inequities around the world, WHO continues to mark UHC Day by highlighting the need to leave no one behind.

Economy of Well-being Pan-European Solution Forum (Date to be confirmed)
The Forum will feature the launch of the WHO Pan-European Economy of Well-being for All Alliance: a coalition of countries and partners demonstrating how to put health and well-being for all at the centre of fiscal and economic practices.

Original article here.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top