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Alstom’s new X’trapolis model © Alstom Design & Styling

| ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 18 ADDITIONAL X’TRAPOLIS BATTERY-ELECTRIC TRAINS FOR IRISH RAIL

·       The further order, valued at around €160 million, is part of a ten-year framework agreement signed last year

·       Irish Rail is ordering 18 battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs), aiming to boost the sustainability of Ireland’s busiest commuter belt

Alstom has signed a further order with Irish Rail (IE) for 18 more five-car X’trapolis trains and an extension to the 15-year Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement under the ten-year framework agreement announced in December 2021. This further order, valued at around €160 million, will see 18 battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) added to the initial firm order of 19 five-car X’trapolis trains – thirteen of which were battery-electric and six electrics – made in 2021.

In total, Irish Rail has now ordered 37 five-car X’trapolis trains which will deliver more capacity and decarbonisation benefits in advance of electrification of the extended DART+ network.

Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director Nick Crossfield and Alstom Ireland Managing Director Piers Wood joined Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D., Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham and Irish Rail’s Chief Executive, Jim Meade at Irish Rail’s Connolly Station headquarters on Friday morning to formally sign the new order.

The ten-year framework agreement allows for up to 750 electric and battery-electric rail cars to be procured for the DART+ network which is planned to open in 2025. In addition to the fleet, Alstom will provide a range of services solutions, including a Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement for the first 15 years of the fleet’s operation, deploying its HealthHub and TrainScanner technologies for predictive maintenance, and providing three train simulators to support driver training. The expansion of the DART fleet as part of the DART+ Programme is funded by the National Transport Authority under the National Development Plan 2021-2030.

Due to enter service in 2025, the 37 trains with 31 five-car battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) and 6 five-car electric multiple units (EMUs) now ordered will be capable of journeys of more than 80 kilometres outside the electrified DART network under pure battery power, thereby taking older diesel rolling stock off those non-electrified lines. These X’trapolis trains will comprise the first modern battery fleet in Ireland, contributing to the widening of Ireland’s carbon reduction efforts through public transport.

According to Irish Rail, today’s 18 battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) order will benefit Maynooth/M3 Parkway and Kildare line services, delivering more capacity for commuters in advance of electrification.

Energy stored in the battery system will be replenished via fast charging stations at chosen terminus locations and by recovering braking energy while the new battery-electric trainsets are on the move. This will enable, for example, the new battery-electric fleet to deliver Dublin to Drogheda return services, with fast charging at Drogheda Station.

DART+ is the transformative programme that will ensure train travel is at the heart of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. Funded under the National Development Plan by the National Transport Authority, DART+ is an investment that will double the capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area network, facilitating sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in the capital and its surrounding counties.

Alstom X’trapolis for Ireland

Alstom’s highly successful, modular X’trapolis commuter train platform, with over  6000 railcars sold worldwide is manufactured as well in the European Union and will be specially tailored for the DART+ programme.

Each 82-metre DART+ train will have space for 550 passengers with wide, walk-through gangways, low-level floor, and an automatic retractable step to maximise accessibility for all passengers. Other features include dedicated cycle and family areas, enhanced passenger features such as charging facilities for mobile phones, e-bikes and e-scooters; and advanced CCTV systems throughout the train, to enhance safety and security for customers and employees.

Alstom will also continue to support the DART+ fleet for a period of 15 years, providing technical support and spares, and deploying its HealthHub and TrainScanner technologies for predictive maintenance.

Alstom is the pioneer of sustainable and smart mobility with a full portfolio of green mobility solutions, including the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, which is already in passenger service in Germany as well as battery electric trains already sold in Germany (Coradia Continental BEMU).

The B-21 Raider © Northrop Grumman

| NORTHROP GRUMMAN AND THE US AIR FORCE INTRODUCE THE B-21 RAIDER, THE WORLD’S FIRST SIXTH-GENERATION AIRCRAFT

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the U.S. Air Force has unveiled the B-21 Raider to the world. The B-21 joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions.

“The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now,” said Kathy Warden, chair, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America’s role of delivering peace through deterrence.”

The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power, leading a powerful family of systems that deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.

“The B-21 Raider is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it’s proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production.”

The B-21 is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains. Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats.

US Air Force unveils B-21 Raider

“With the B-21, the U.S. Air Force will be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “The B-21 exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers.”
The B-21 Raider is named in honor of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II. The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century.

© Corsica Sole

| CONTINENTAL EUROPE’S LARGEST ENERGY STORAGE PLANT INAUGURATED IN DEUX-ACREN, BELGIUM

The plant can store 100 MWh of energy in lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of up to 50 MW and thus regulate the frequency of the European electricity transmission grid. The commissioning of this plant is the culmination of several years of collaboration with Tesla, Yuso and InnoVent, the initiators of the project.
Energy storage systems help stabilise electricity grids by ensuring a balance between generation and consumption. Today, this function is performed by oil- or gas-fired power plants, making the European electricity grid dependent on fossil fuels.
The storage power plants connected to the public electricity grid provide “services” to the grid operator to ensure the stability of energy distribution. These services have various functions: Regulating the grid frequency, balancing the fluctuations of renewable energies and storing energy at times of low consumption in order to feed it back in at times of high consumption.

Energy storage: the key to EU energy independence

Today, it is crucial for the European Union to be able to control its energy production and thus its costs. Storage power plants are not only economical, but can also be built in less than a year and respond quickly to the energy crisis.
“As a pioneer of energy storage in France, CORSICA SOLE has been operating this type of plant on the French islands since 2015,” emphasises Michael Coudyser, the company’s Managing Director. “This project is an important step for the development of electricity storage solutions in Europe. We have financed this project with our shareholder Mirova Energy Transition 5, without any public subsidy. By showing that large-scale battery deployment is economically viable, we are proving that we can build a world based on renewable energy combined with energy storage”.
With this project, CORSICA SOLE is changing the scale and becoming one of the European leaders in this sector.
As a player committed to the energy transition, CORSICA SOLE is convinced that renewable energies are an important answer to the fight against climate change. The company’s mission is to accelerate the energy transition towards a world that is 100% renewable and 0% fossil fuel. By planning, building and operating renewable energy generation and electricity storage facilities, CORSICA SOLE helps regions make the best use of their natural resources to achieve energy sovereignty.

| SECURITY UNION: COMMISSION PROPOSES NEW RULES ON ADVANCE PASSENGER INFORMATION

© Wikicommons

The Commission is proposing new rules to strengthen the use of Advance Passenger Information (API) data. This proposal is one of the key actions identified in the EU Security Union Strategy. The EU continues its progress in strengthening its overall security architecture, which aims to enhance EU citizens’ protection, as shown also in the Fifth Security Union Progress Report. The report highlights three years of solid progress in implementing the Security Union Strategy. It shows that significant steps have been made in strengthening the protection of critical infrastructures from physical, cyber and hybrid attacks, in fighting terrorism and radicalisation, as well as in the fight against organised crime.

Information on travellers has helped to improve border controls, reduce irregular migration, and identify persons posing security risks. Every year, over a billion passengers enter, leave or travel within the EU. The new rules will improve the use of API data to perform checks on passengers prior to their arrival at the external borders. The new rules will also enhance the fight against serious crime and terrorism within the EU. This will close an important gap in the current legal framework, while upholding EU standards for data protection and transmission.

The Commission is also today reporting on three years of solid progress in implementing the Security Union Strategy and proposing a new Action Plan on Trafficking in Cultural Goods, which remains one of the most lucrative forms of business for organised crime groups.

The new rules on API will introduce:

Uniform rules on API data collection. The new rules include a closed list of API data elements, the means to collect API data, and a single point for the transfer of the data.

Mandatory API data collection for the purposes of border management and combating irregular immigration on all flights entering the Schengen area. This will facilitate the travel of people travelling to the Schengen area, with reduced times at disembarkation and at the physical border checks. Mandatory API data collection for law enforcement purposes for all flights to and from the EU, as well as on selected flights within the EU. API data for such purposes is collected in full respect of EU personal data protection rules.

Better quality API data, as air carriers will have to collect API data by automated means only.

Streamlined transmission of API data by air carriers to national authorities through a new router, which will be managed by an EU Agency, eu-LISA. This technical solution is compliant with personal data protection safeguards as it will only transmit and not store any API data.

Next steps

It is now for the European Parliament and the Council to examine the proposal. Once adopted, the rules will be directly applicable across the EU. These proposals complete other EU systems and initiatives in the area of border management and security, and that are being rolled out in the course of 2023 (such as the Entry Exit System and the European Travel Information Authorisation System). The new rules on the collection and transfer of API data are expected to be applied in full as of 2028. Once the router is developed, which is expected to be the case by 2026, public authorities and air carriers will have two years to adjust to the new requirements and test the router, before it becomes mandatory

© Europol

| 41 ARRESTS FOR SELLING POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS HORSE MEAT

The operation, developed jointly by Europol and the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) targeted the illegal sale of horse meat unsuitable for consumption. The criminal network involved in this illegal sale is linked to a number of crimes including food fraud, money laundering and document fraud. The untraceable meat was sold on the Spanish, but also Belgian, German and Italian markets.

The investigation uncovered a large criminal network, which was altering the traceability of horse meat by falsifying transfer and identification documents. During the operational activities, national authorities arrested 35 individuals, including the heads of the network, while targeting 6 companies linked to the criminal organisation. During the raids in Spain, authorities seized half a tonne of horse meat unfit for consumption.

Active international cooperation, facilitated by Europol, enabled the dismantling of the criminal scheme with six other arrests made by the Belgian Federal Police. The suspects involved in the criminal network had different functions: from the ones who slaughtered the animals without the necessary controls to the individuals dealing with the transport, the veterinarians providing false documents and the butcher facilities, which sold the meat unfit for consumption.

Animal abuse generating millions in illegal profits

The suspects acquired horses from across Spain for free or by paying up to 100 euros per animal. Due to several factors, these animals were not destined for the food market and the potential illegal profit was substantial. Once the leader of the criminal network acquired enough livestock to activate the illegal scheme, they set up a complete cattle exploitation facility in 2019 and started exporting the meat to other European markets. Spanish officers raided the clandestine facilities and uncovered 80 horses, which had been abused and were suffering from various untreated diseases due to the lack of veterinary control.

This lack of supervision posed a significant risk for the development of zoonotic diseases transmittable to humans. Moreover, the animals endured poor conditions in the cattle facilities, a lack of food and water, as well as permanent stress situations during transport. Even a single illegal shipment generated 35 000 euros for the transporters, with an estimated turnover of EUR 4.5 million in turnover on the logistical side. The criminal network turned dirt into diamonds: horses, that were written off and worth only EUR 100 each, generated illegal profits of about EUR 1.5 million.

Europol coordinated the operational activities, facilitated the information exchange and provided analytical support to national law enforcement authorities. During the action days, Europol deployed experts to Belgium and Spain to cross-check operational information against Europol’s databases in real time and provided leads to investigators in the field.

| NO LAUGHING MATTER — NEW REPORT SHOWS RISE IN RECREATIONAL USE OF NITROUS OXIDE

A rise in the supply and recreational use of nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’) is the focus of a new report out today from the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). The publication — Recreational use of nitrous oxide: a growing concern for Europe — points to the risks and harms associated with the drug, which is now widely available, cheap and popular among some young people.

Nitrous oxide has a variety of legitimate medical, industrial, commercial and scientific uses (e.g. as a food additive or anaesthetic in medicine). For over 200 years, it has also been used for its psychoactive effects, including feelings of euphoria, relaxation and detachment. In the last decade, there has been a large increase in its recreational use in many regions of the world. In some European countries, particular concerns have been raised since 2017–18, when the drug became more widely available and in larger quantities.

‘The growing popularity of nitrous oxide might be explained to some extent by its easy availability, low price, short-lived effects and a general perception by users as a relatively safe drug’, states the report.

The analysis examines the current situation, risks and responses to the recreational use of the gas in Europe and reviews its chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology. Seven case studies are also presented in the report from: Denmark, Ireland, France, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

© Nato

| EXERCISE CYBER COALITION 2022 CONCLUDES IN ESTONIA

NATO has concluded its largest annual cyber defence exercise, Cyber Coalition 2022, which involved more than 1,000 cyber defenders from 26 NATO Allies, invitees Finland and Sweden, as well as Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, the European Union, and participants from industry and academia. This year’s event took place between November 28th and December 2nd in Tallinn, Estonia, as well as remotely.

“The best part about this exercise […] is that it is a collaborative and cooperative environment and it is not a competition,” said Commander Charles Elliott, Cyber Coalition 2022 Exercise Director, United States Navy. “Building on the success of this year, we will incorporate more real-world lessons learned as we go into next year,” he added.

The NATO’s Allied Command Transformation-led annual exercise Cyber Coalition tests and trains cyber defenders from across the Alliance in their ability to defend NATO and national networks.

Cyber Coalition 2022 is a perfect venue for experimentation, driving cyberspace warfare and capability development. It is used inter alia to test and validate concepts, capture requirements or explore Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, in support of military operators and commanders. Cyber Coalition 2022 experimentation campaign included experiments on the use of Artificial Intelligence to help counter cyber threats, on the standardization of cyber messages to foster information sharing, and on the exploitation of Cyber Threat Intelligence to inform Cyberspace Situational Awareness. Cyber Coalition experimentation campaign is coordinated by Allied Command Transformation and conducted yearly in collaboration with stakeholders from NATO organizations, nations, industry and academia.

Cyber Coalition 2022 is based on a challenging, realistic scenario where a powerful threat actor tries to compromise a NATO mission by conducting advanced and sophisticated cyber operations. These operations trigger the coordination and collaboration of participating NATO, Allied and partner cyber defenders. The scenario helps prepare cyber defenders for real-life cyber challenges, including attacks on critical infrastructure as well as disruption of NATO and allied assets while in operations.

“Malign actors seek to degrade our critical infrastructure, interfere with our government services, extract intelligence, steal intellectual property and impede our military activities. Allies are committed to protecting their critical infrastructure, building resilience and bolstering their cyber defences. We will continue raising our guard against such malicious cyber activities in the future, and support each other to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including by considering possible collective responses,” said Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, French Air and Space Force.

Cyber Coalition is NATO’s flagship annual collective cyber defence exercise and one of the largest in the world. It is planned and conducted by Allied Command Transformation under the governance of the Military Committee.

The NSM strike missile © Kongsberg

|UNITED KINGDOM’s ROYAL NAVY SELECTS KONGSBERG`S NAVAL STRIKE MISSILE

UK and Norwegian have announced that they have agreed to further strengthen existing defence ties. The Royal Navy will receive the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), outfitted on Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, in a collaboration with the Norwegian government.

The collaboration will result in more ships equipped with the highly sophisticated Naval Strike Missiles which in turn will contribute in enhancing the security in our common areas of interest. Replacing the Harpoon surface-to-surface weapon, due to go out of service in 2023, the world-class anti-ship missile will be ready for operations onboard the first Royal Navy vessel in a little over 12 months.

“KONGSBERG is very pleased to welcome the Royal Navy as a member of the NSM User Group. We proudly support the strengthening of defence ties between our nations by integrating the NSM on the Royal Navy’s vessels,” says Executive Vice President in Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace Øyvind Kolset.

The NSM is a very flexible system, which can be launched from a variety of platforms against a variety of targets on sea and land.

The airframe design and the high thrust to weight ratio give the NSM extremely good manoeuvrability. The missile is completely passive, has proven its excellent sea-skimming capabilities and with its advanced terminal manoeuvres, it will survive the enemy air defences. The Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR) of the seeker ensures that the correct target is detected, recognized and hit, at sea or on land.

The Royal Navy has ordered its first crewless submarine
Cetus submarine © Royal Navy

In just two years’ time Cetus – named after a mythological sea monster – will move stealthily through the oceans, monitoring hostile activity, listening out for ships or submarines which may pose a threat to the Fleet, or to key national infrastructure such as deep-sea cables and pipelines.

The Royal Navy has experimented with – and in some cases operated – autonomous underwater systems for more than a decade. Most are small, off-the-shelf technologies, largely used in minehunting.

The £15.4m Cetus is in a different league: the length of a bus, it will be the largest and most complex crewless submersible operated by European navies, designed and built specially for the Royal Navy by Plymouth-based tech firm MSubs, creating ten specialist jobs and supporting 70 more.

At 12 metres long and 2.2 metres in diameter, the 17-tonne submarine can fit inside a shipping container and be transported around the world to wherever the Fleet needs it.

The unarmed battery-powered craft will be able to dive deeper than any vessel in the current submarine fleet and cover up to 1,000 miles in a single mission.

Acting as an operational demonstrator, the goal is for Cetus – and its successors – to work side-by-side with traditional crewed submarines, such as the current Astute-class hunter-killers, or independently.
The crewless submarine is the latest step taken by the Royal Navy into the world of autonomy.

Autonomous minehunting systems are already operating in Scotland, driverless Pacific 24 sea boats are undergoing testing, numerous aerial drones are employed by ships both for reconnaissance/intelligence gathering and target practice for air defence.

Rolls-Royce AE2100 Hydrogen Test at Boscombe Down, UK © Rolls-royce

| ROLLS-ROYCE AND EASYJET SET NEW WORLD FIRST

Rolls-Royce and easyJet today confirmed they have set a new aviation milestone with the world’s first run of a modern aero engine on hydrogen.

The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power. It marks a major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero carbon aviation fuel of the future and is a key proof point in the decarbonisation strategies of both Rolls-Royce and easyJet.

Both companies have set out to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for civil aero engines and are already planning a second set of tests, with a longer-term ambition to carry out flight tests.

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. Green hydrogen for the tests was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre), generated using renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal test facility on Eday in the Orkney Islands, UK.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, said: “The UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying, and today’s test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can transform the way we live our lives.

“This is a true British success story, with the hydrogen being used to power the jet engine today produced using tidal and wind energy from the Orkney Islands of Scotland – and is a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while driving jobs across the country.”

Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce, said: “The success of this hydrogen test is an exciting milestone. We only announced our partnership with easyJet in July and we are already off to an incredible start with this landmark achievement. We are pushing the boundaries to discover the zero carbon possibilities of hydrogen, which could help reshape the future of flight.”

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “This is a real success for our partnership team. We are committed to continuing to support this ground-breaking research because hydrogen offers great possibilities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. That will be a huge step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050.”

Following analysis of this early concept ground test, the partnership plans a series of further rig tests leading up to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

The partnership is inspired by the global, UN-backed Race to Zero campaign that both companies have signed up to, committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

CapThe new Wagner Center in St Petersburg. Alexander Demianchuk / TASS

| RUSSIAN PARAMILItARY GROUP WAGNER

The Russian paramilitary group Wagner has just opened its first headquarters in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of this army of mercenaries, announced the opening of this office in a statement published on a website.
Last month, Yevgeny Prigozhin finally admitted to having founded the group, while the Kremlin has always denied any link with this paramilitary group.
The building
“The mission of the Wagner PMC Center is to provide a comfortable environment to generate new ideas to improve Russia’s defense capability,” said Yevgeny Prigozhin in his statement.
The building, a glass tower, shows a big « Wagner » sign on top.

Opacity, crime, and impunity. This is how the Wagner Group, a private army of mercenaries working on behalf of Russia, could be defined. They are found in countries around the world, where they are employed – officially – as security personnel. Some of their abuses have reached such a degree of violence that the highest international authorities have voiced concern. Especially since journalists who sought to investigate this occult, private army have been murdered.

The Wagner Group has been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and killings, in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Mozambique.

| WHO AND THE EU RENEW PARTNERSHIP FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission have agreed on reinforcing a decade-long collaboration to accelerate the achievement of universal health coverage. The letter of intent foresees an additional contribution from the European Union (EU) of €125 million for the continuation of WHO’s assistance to its Member States over the next five years, implemented through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC Partnership). This will focus on strengthening health systems to make them more resilient and responsive to natural, climate or human-made disasters.

“Health is a fundamental human right, and universal health coverage is critical for achieving that right. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating evidence that Universal Health Coverage is the foundation to resilience and sustainable development for all. That’s true for individuals and families confronting a life-threatening illness, and it’s true for countries – and the whole world – in the face of epidemics and pandemics. I am grateful to the European Union for its strong leadership and longstanding commitment to helping the world achieve Universal Health Coverage,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

The partnership with WHO is a key deliverable of the new EU Global Health Strategy adopted by the European Commission yesterday. Strengthening health systems and advancing universal health coverage worldwide is one of the three key priorities of the Strategy.

“I am delighted to sign today with Dr Tedros a new contribution of €125 million EU contribution for the period 2023–2027 to our Universal Health Coverage Partnership with the World Health Organization. As COVID-19 dramatically highlighted, resilient health systems and equitable access to health care are key to ensuring individual well-being and identifying and managing public health threats effectively,” said Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission yesterday agreed on reinforcing a decade-long collaboration to accelerate the achievement of universal health coverage. The letter of intent foresees an additional contribution from the European Union (EU) of €125 million for the continuation of WHO’s assistance to its Member States over the next five years, implemented through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC Partnership). This will focus on strengthening health systems to make them more resilient and responsive to natural, climate or human-made disasters.

“Health is a fundamental human right, and universal health coverage is critical for achieving that right. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating evidence that Universal Health Coverage is the foundation to resilience and sustainable development for all. That’s true for individuals and families confronting a life-threatening illness, and it’s true for countries – and the whole world – in the face of epidemics and pandemics. I am grateful to the European Union for its strong leadership and longstanding commitment to helping the world achieve Universal Health Coverage,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

The partnership with WHO is a key deliverable of the new EU Global Health Strategy adopted by the European Commission yesterday. Strengthening health systems and advancing universal health coverage worldwide is one of the three key priorities of the Strategy.

“I am delighted to sign today with Dr Tedros a new contribution of €125 million EU contribution for the period 2023–2027 to our Universal Health Coverage Partnership with the World Health Organization. As COVID-19 dramatically highlighted, resilient health systems and equitable access to health care are key to ensuring individual well-being and identifying and managing public health threats effectively,” said Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General and EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen © WHO

The UHC Partnership was established by WHO in 2011 with support from the European Commission to help catalyze action at country level to make health for all a reality. From supporting seven countries in its inception phase, the initiative has seen steady expansion, with the European Commission remaining as a leading contributor. With consolidated funding from eight donors, 130 health policy advisors have so far been deployed across 120 WHO country offices covering more than 4 billion people. Health policy advisors play a crucial role in bringing WHO’s technical expertise in fostering policy dialogue, national health planning, health security, addressing noncommunicable diseases and more. The Partnership also provides funding for catalytic projects and helps engage partners to enable effective development cooperation.

Today, the UHC Partnership is regarded as one of WHO’s largest platforms for international cooperation on Universal Health Coverage and primary health care. As a source of mostly flexible funding, it supports the Organization in delivering assistance that is responsive to evolving priorities, including in the context of health emergencies such as disease outbreaks and conflict.

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