Leading academic and humanitarian experts from across the globe met in London, UK to finalize plans for the establishment of a new “Global Alliance on War, Conflict and Health". The Alliance is a collaborative body that will strengthen the collective voice of health and humanitarian researchers, academics, practitioners and advocates to make the case for preventing war, collective violence and armed conflict as fundamental threats to health and health systems, and use data and evidence to engage practitioners, policy makers, and those in related fields to prevent and mitigate the health effects of war and armed conflict, and rebuild post conflict. The Alliance strives to support those working in countries experiencing the lived burden of war, promoting justice and accountability as a foundation for peace. The vision of the Alliance is for a world without war, where health is protected, justice upheld and peace promoted.
Spearheaded by a team from The Lancet-American University of Beirut (AUB) Commission on Syria, the Alliance builds on the work of the Commission and observations that there is an important need to build the legitimacy of the field of armed conflict and health, create an international collaborative platform to facilitate collaboration, address the gross under-representation of the Global South, and provide direction and global leadership.
The London meeting builds on a seminal global Expert Strategic Planning Meeting hosted by the Commission in June 2018, where participants committed to establishing a global platform to raise the collective voice of people living in conflict areas and strengthen the global health response to war and conflict. In a historic first, Steering Group members, comprising eminent experts and practitioners, met for their inaugural meeting at Queen Mary University of London on 23rd and 24th June to formulate a strategic plan for the Alliance, agree on its scope, mission and mandate and map out a work plan towards Alliance launch.
“The world today has more wars and armed conflicts than at any time since 1946 and many of these are complex and protracted, with profound consequences for health of individuals and communities, " said Professor Samer Jabbour of AUB's Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), Co-Chair of the Commission on Syria, and founding Chair of the Alliance Steering Group. “We have a collective responsibility, indeed an imperative, to ensure that the health dimensions of war and armed conflict, from prevention, through mitigation, and to recovery, are firmly on the global agenda...The Alliance will fill a critical gap in the global landscape."
The Steering Group comprises some of the world's leading experts in the field, with strong representation from the Global South and settings that have experienced the lived burden of war. The Alliance leadership includes in addition to Professor Jabbour, Professor Amy Hagopian of the School of Public Health at the University of Washington as Vice Chair, and Dr Marian Abouzeid, Associate Project Lead of the Commission on Syria, Adjunct Assistant Professor at FHS/AUB, and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Humanitarian Leadership, Australia, as Executive Director.
The FHS/AUB hosts the Alliance's inaugural Secretariat. The
Asfari Foundation has provided kind support to this program of work.
The Global Alliance on War, Conflict and Health will be formally launched in Geneva in May 2020.