Today, on the margins of the CEI Summit, organised by the Montenegrin CEI Presidency and the CEI-Excecutive Secretariat, a special event dedicated to the endorsement of the WHO “Roadmap for Health and Well-being in the Western Balkans (2021-2025)” took place with the participation of the Prime Ministers or their representatives of the CEI Member States of the Western Balkans, the CEI Secretary General and the Regional Director of WHO Europe.

The event was opened by Zdravko Krivokapić, Prime Minister of Montenegro, who reminded participants about the importance of shared principles and values, such as unity and solidarity, to ensure that health can truly be a universal right— with the Road Map being the result of shared ambitions and sincere efforts in this regard.

CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione while opening the event underlined the value of “our joint efforts to truly put people at the center of health and care”. He continued remarking the urgency to act across sectors connecting economic development and social inclusion with health issues— as “it is especially in times of economic and social turmoil that Countries should adopt a shared vision striving to strengthen regional cooperation as an added value for recovery and development”.

In line with the scope and purpose of the special event, Hans Henri Kluge, Regional Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe, further emphasised that as the current pandemic represented the “most acute health crisis in a century”, the envisaged broader economic recovery plan will create the opportunity to foster cohesion and strengthen Countries’ resilience to future shocks.

 Participants, while endorsing the Roadmap, highlighted the importance of multilateralism and regional cooperation with solidarity and partnerships as the only way forward towards, healthier, more resilient and a  fully integrated region.

 The event was concluded with a Joint Statement of Action to further highlight the need “to keep health high at the top of the political agendas of all governments and partners to better strategize for health”— especially in consideration of developing and building a community of strategic partners to close the health gap between the Western Balkans and the European Union.