Former Italian PM to chair WHO Europe's new COVID-19 commission

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe has announced it will convene a Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development to rethink policy priorities in light of COVID-19 pandemics, said a press release from the WHO Europe on Tuesday. 


Mario Monti, who served as Italy's prime minister from 2011 to 2013 in the wake of the country's debt crisis, attends an international conference in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, October 26, 2019. /CFP

Professor Mario Monti, former Italian prime minister, will chair the commission. 

"I regard WHO's decision to set up this high-level independent Commission as a progressive step towards shaping a more effective, integrated approach to health and well-being, as a bedrock for sustainable development," said Monti in the press release. 

The commission is expected to identify and review the current relevant evidence on the pandemic and draw lessons from the ways different countries' health systems have responded to COVID-19 and then suggest "recommendations on investments and reforms to improve the resilience of health and social care systems," said the press release.


Italian high school graduates take part in an exam during the COVID-19 pandemic in Rome, Italy, June 17, 2020. /CFP

The commission accordingly is to comprise of former heads of states and governments, distinguished life scientists and economists, heads of health and social care institutions, and leaders of the business community and financial institutions. 

"Our goal is to position health at the top of the political agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals, and to strengthen the resilience of health and social care systems in the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region," wrote Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, in the press release. 

The commission will hold its inaugural meeting on August 26, 2020 after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Kluge jointly launch the commission. 

The new commission is expected to complete its work and present its final report by September 2021.