In a significant move, the WHO plans to adopt the European Union’s (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification. This adoption will pave the way for the establishment of a global system that promotes seamless global mobility while safeguarding citizens worldwide from ongoing and future health threats, including pandemics.
The launch of the digital COVID-19 certification is the first step towards the development of the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN). This network aims to create a comprehensive range of digital products designed to improve health outcomes for individuals around the globe.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, emphasizes the importance of equity, innovation, transparency, and data protection in the development of an open-source digital health tool. This tool, based on the EU’s successful digital certification network, holds the potential to deliver quality health services quickly and effectively to people worldwide.
The EU Global Health Strategy and WHO Global Strategy on Digital Health serve as the guiding principles for this landmark initiative. This collaboration is a testament to the shared commitment between Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Dr. Tedros to enhance strategic cooperation on global health issues. By leveraging the EU’s expertise and WHO’s international leadership, the partnership aims to develop cutting-edge global digital health solutions.
Commissioner Stella Kyriakides highlights the significance of aligning the EU’s digital action plan with global health standards and interoperability. This partnership exemplifies how collaboration between the EU and WHO can drive better health outcomes not only in the EU but also worldwide. With WHO’s extensive experience and authority in international health work, the potential for advancing global digital health solutions is immense.
Close collaboration between the European Commission and WHO will be instrumental in the development, management, and implementation of the WHO GDHCN system. Leveraging the technical expertise of the European Commission, the partnership aims to ensure the seamless functioning of the current EU digital certificates and pave the way for a robust global tool against future pandemics.
The EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic included the rapid establishment of interoperable digital COVID-19 certificates. These certificates, known as the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate (EU DCC), set a global standard for facilitating free movement within EU borders. The EU DCC, built on open-source technologies and standards, also enabled non-EU countries to connect and issue certificates aligned with EU DCC specifications, making it the most widely used solution worldwide.