6th May, 2020 - Commonwealth Health Professions Alliance Commonwealth Civil Society Policy Forum 2020

Commonwealth Health Professions Alliance

Commonwealth Civil Society Policy Forum 2020

Strengthening Health Systems with Digital Technologies in Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic to Ensure Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is based on the principle that individuals and communities have the right to access comprehensive and good quality health services without experiencing financial hardship. The rights-based approach lies at the core of this concept. UHC is pivotal to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. It is necessary to use modern technology in innovative ways to strengthen and reengineer processes within health systems and health care to achieve UHC. The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought health systems even in affluence countries to their knees. Digital and diagnostic technologies are playing a leading role in the response to the pandemic and understanding how these technologies could be used effectively and strategically to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and to ensure Universal Health Coverage is vital for all countries. The objective is the 2020 Commonwealth Civil Society Policy Forum is to discuss these issues.

This forum is usually conducted on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) and the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva in the month of May every year. This year in view of the global pandemic it has been decided to hold the event as a virtual event.

The outcome of the forum would be a policy brief that would be widely circulated to ministries of health of Commonwealth countries as well international development partners and intergovernmental agencies.


31st July, 2019 - High Level Event: Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All

High Level Event: Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All – A Call for Emergency Action

Royal Over Seas League, Park Place, London SW1A 1NS
2.00- 4.00pm 31stJuly, 2019


A Collaborative Initiative by the InterAction Council 


  • A high level discourse on the options for declaring and advancing an Emergency Response to the Climate and Environmental Crisis
  • To launch and disseminate the ‘Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All’ and identify next steps with supportive organisations



HE Winnie Kiap, High Commissioner, Papua New Guinea, former Chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors

Ella Robertson, Managing Director, International, One Young World

 2.00pm: Welcome and Introductions 

 2.10pm: Context and Letter from HE Bertie Ahern, Co-Chair of the InterAction Council – a Group of former Heads of Government and World Leaders:

 2.20pm: ‘The Climate and Planetary Emergency requires leadership from us all”  

Video message: Dr David Nabarro, Strategic Director, 4SD – Skills, Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development; Co-director, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London; supporting the Nature-based Solutions workstream for the Climate Action Summit in September and former Special Advisor to the UN SG, on Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

2.25pm: ‘Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All – A Call for Emergency Action’ Presentation by Professor Joanna Nurse, Strategic Advisor to the InterAction Council and former Head of Health and Education, the Commonwealth.

2.45pm: ‘Declaring an Emergency Response for the Climate and Environmental Crisis’ 

A High Level Discussion on Options and Mechanisms for Emergency Action

Introduced and moderated by Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite, CB, MBE, Chatham House and former Surgeon-General UK Armed Forces.

3.00pm: Country Perspectives – from Country Representatives:  Current impacts, future challenges and potential benefits of declaring an Emergency Response to the Climate and Environmental Crisis.

3.25pm: Partner and Stakeholder Perspectivesto enable Action– Young People and the Well-Being of Future Generations, endorsing and supportive organisations, statements and videos re the ‘Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All’.

3.55pm: Summary and Recommended Next Steps

 4.00pm Close and Refreshments and Group Photo 

 With thanks and kind regards,

Message from the Chairman, CWCDH


Download  Manifesto

 ‘A Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All’
– A Call for Emergency Action – a Summary: 

“The Planet is Sick – and we all need to work together to ensure the health and wellbeingof future generations” HE Bertie Ahern, Co-Chair of the InterAction Council, former Taoiseach, Prime Minister, Republic of Ireland.


As Guardians for Health, and those who are deeply committed to securing the Health of the Planet for the wellbeing of current and future generations, for all, we call for the urgent establishment of an Emergency Response to the Climate and Environmental Crisis, at global, regional, national and community levels. With current IPCC projections placing us on a trajectory for a 3-4 C temperature rise by 2100 and 3-10 C by 2200, combined with the increasing risk from tipping points, that could increase temperatures and sea levels further, we stand at a critical juncture in the history of our Planet. Moreover, we are at the crossroads to our very existence, as well as that of the majority of life on this Earth, having already seen an estimated 60% decline of our mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, with further estimates of nearly one million species at risk of extinction over the coming decades, we stand at the threshold of a sixth mass extinction. Over the next decade, we are the generation that holds the responsibility to reverse the epidemic acceleration of carbon emissions and to urgently stabilise the risks from runaway climate change.

As Guardians for protecting our health and wellbeing, now and for future generations, we advocate for this ‘Manifesto to Secure a Healthy Planet for All’which calls for emergency action, based upon the following overarching vision and principles:

Vision:To Secure a Healthy Planet now and for the Well-Being of Future Generations.


  • To place the Health of the Planet and the well-being of current and future generations at the heart of decision making
  • To act with speed and scale, with the urgent establishment of an Emergency Response mechanism at Global, National and Community levels



  1. Security– A Critical Care Response for the Planet’s Health: with the declaration of a Climate and Environmental Crisis and the urgent establishment of an Emergency Response mechanism to ensure the rapid reversal of carbon emissions, the stabilisation of risks from runaway climate change and the protection of vulnerable populations.
  2. Recovery– Rehabilitation and Resilience: to enhance the recovery of the Planet’s Biodiversity and Eco-systems, creating healthy air, water, land and food systems, scaled up through Universal Health Systems for Planet, Place and People.
  3. FlourishingPlanet for All: combat denial and eco-anxiety bypromoting sustainable wellbeing by maximising multiple health and environmental benefits, including healthy eco-systems, and multi-sector, systems based urban planning and ‘One Health for One Planet Education’ approaches across the life-course, to create connected communities and cyclical economies, for a flourishing Planet for all.
  4. Guardianshipfor a Healthy Planet: every organisation and community to establish a ‘Guardian for the Planet’s Health’ responsible for:Planetary first aid, Emergency responses, Guardianship, Advocacy, Solutions, Unifying action and Sustaining a flourishing planet (PEGASUS); enabled by a Healthy Planet Index.
  5. Collaborative – Community and Health Professional Action:everyone can become a community ‘Guardian for the Planet’s Health’to: protect and strengthen resilience by greening communities; reduce consumption and waste, recycle and use clean energy and transport; walk, cycle and communicate digitally and shift to healthy, planet friendly foods. Community members, including health professionals can lead by example with quality services and promote healthy green communities with resilient families.

Endorsing Organisations: For your interest, please see the list of endorsing partners:

  • InterAction Council (former heads of government group)
  • World Federation of Public Health Associations
  • World Psychiatric Association
  • World Organisation of Family Doctors –Working Group on the Environment
  • International Federation of Environmental Health
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature, Urban Alliance
  • NCD Alliance
  • Commonwealth Medical Association
  • Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health
  • Commonwealth Local Government Forum
  • Commonwealth Royal Society
  • Commonwealth Association of Science, Technology and Mathematics Educators
  • Commonwealth Human Ecology Council
  • Commonwealth Association of Museums
  • Commonwealth Association of Planners
  • One Young World
  • International Federation of Medical Students Association
  • Planetary Health Alliance
  • Salzburg Global Seminar
  • Engineers for Social Responsibility Inc.
  • Welsh Commission for the Well-Being of Future Generations
  • Faculty of Public Health, UK
  • The National Institute of Public Health, Denmark, University of Southern Denmark
  • Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
  • School of International Futures
  • Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development
  • Association of International Accountants
  • World Health Summit
  • Islamic World Academy of Sciences
  • Arab World Association of Young Scientists
20th June 2019 – Launch of the Commonwealth Digital Health Fellowship Programme
20th June 2019 – Launch of the Commonwealth Digital Health Fellowship Programme and A digital hub for ‘universal health systems for planet, place and people’ A collaborative initiative between the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health, and the University of Southampton, UK.

Southampton University, along with wider partners in the Wessex Region and other parts of UK, are well-positioned to form and co-ordinate the first Hub of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health to create a common good for securing a healthy Planet for All with the development of a digital framework and platform for ‘Universal Health Systems for Planet, Place and People’. The hub would also coordinate the Commonwealth Digital Health Fellowship Programme.

Participants at the meeting together with Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake (President, CMA & Chairman, CWCDH); Mr. Anoop Singh (CEO, CWCDH); Prof. James Batchelor (Prof of Clinical Informatics, University of Southampton and Hub Director (Digital Health), Dr. Jo Nurse (Visiting Professor of Planetary Health, University of Southampton and Hub Director (Health Systems)

Dr. Bernardo Mariano, Chief Information Officer, World Health Organisation Addressing the Meeting via Video.


Download Brochure  |  Download Programme

20th May 2019 – “Digital Health Commonwealth Ministerial Dinner”
Building Collaborative Partnerships for Digital Health Initiatives Across the Commonwealth – Side Event to the 72nd World Health Assembly 2019
20th April 2018 – Launch of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health

Global Health Security & the Digital Health Society 2030

Innovation & Investment for One Planetary Health & Universal Health Coverage

Side Event to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018

Including the Launch of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health

9.00 am – 13.00 pm | 20 April 2018 |Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL), London, UK



Download CWCDH Side Event Report