Leading academic and humanitarian experts from across the globe met in London, UK to finalize plans for establishment and launch of a new “Global Alliance on War, Conflict and Health". The Alliance is a collaborative body that will strengthen the collective voice of health scientists, 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 policy makers, humanitarian workers 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 enhance the capacity of researchers and others 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 The Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria's Samer Jabbour and Marian Abouzeid, the Alliance builds on the work of the Commission and observations that the emergent field of research on armed conflict and health could likely benefit from an international collaborative platform to create a community, address the gross under-representation of the Global South, and provide direction and global leadership.
Following an initial Expert Strategic Planning Meeting held in Beirut in June 2018, which culminated in participants committing to establishing a global platform to raise the collective voice of people living in conflict areas and impact global health discourse, the Commission has engaged with a broad network of experts globally and assembled a Steering Group of eminent experts. In a historic first, Steering Group members 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.
“Addressing the impact on health from wars and armed conflicts is an imperative that concerns the world at large," said Professor Samer Jabbour of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and founding Chair of the Alliance Steering Group. “The effects of wars and armed conflicts extend far beyond the battle fields, and we have a collective responsibility to ensure that issues of health and armed conflict are firmly on the global agenda...The Alliance will fill a critical gap in the global architecture."
Wars and armed conflicts of the twenty first century presented unprecedented challenges to health and healthcare, with indiscriminant direct and indirect consequences affecting large numbers of civilians, healthcare practitioners, and healthcare systems. As these consequences transcend the confines of borders and exert long-term repercussions on the communities it touches, the work of the Alliance is a necessary cornerstone for supporting the scientific and humanitarian professionals that are contributing to the preservation of health and the eradication of wars and armed conflicts.
The Steering Group comprises some of the worlds leading experts in the space, with strong representation from the Global South and settings that have experienced the lived burden of war. The Alliance leadership includes founding Chair Samer Jabbour (American University of Beirut); founding Vice Chair Amy Hagopian (University of Washington), and founding Executive Director Marian Abouzeid (Center for Humanitarian Leadership, Australia).
The inaugural Secretariat is based at the Faculty of Health Sciences, AUB.
The Global Alliance on War, Conflict and Health is expected to be formally launched in Geneva in May 2020.