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Annual Forums

The Global Forum for Health Research is the only organization that assembles all the actors concerned by research for health in an international forum.

Cross-boundary solutions and commitments

The Global Forum’s status as an independent international organization permits flexibility of action and a precious neutral position. All the actors from diverse backgrounds and paths can therefore be integrated into one and the same meeting: governmental bodies, nongovernmental bodies, representatives of the scientific world, of the private sector, of civil society, bilateral donor agencies, foundations and the media. (Stakeholder opinion - video of Dr Ravi Narayan)

The cross-boundary dialogue allows a rich and positive confrontation of ideas and exchange of evidence, lessons learnt and good practice, leading to comprehensive rather than piecemeal solutions and commitments. For instance, the 2004 Ministerial Summit on Health Research produced a Ministerial Statement that was later approved by the 58th World Health Assembly. The 2008 Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health culminated in a Call to Action, underwritten by official national delegations from 56 countries and a Communiqué to increase accountability. (Stakeholder opinion - video of Dr Shereen El Feki)

Forums in partnership to engage "new" actors

In 2000, 2004 and 2008, the Global Forum has been partnering with the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), the World Bank and the World Health Organization, and in 2008 also with UNESCO, to engage and influence actors in research for health outside the health sector.

Hence, more and more participants come from sectors other than health, but concerned with health, such as trade, agriculture, development, education, science and technology and transport.

2000: International Conference on Health Research for Development, Bangkok, Thailand advocated for strengthening national health research systems.

2004: Ministerial Summit on Health Research and Forum 8, Mexico City, Mexico focused on overcoming the "know-do gap" (from knowledge to policy to action).

2008: Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health, Bamako, Mali broadened the focus from health research to "research for health". (Stakeholder opinion - Dr Carlos Morel)

Greatest opportunity to network

While the Forum meetings broaden the scope of action across geographical and sectoral boundaries, at the same time they focus on the niche of research for health and health equity. They hereby offer a vehicle for highly targeted networking and north-south as well as south-south collaboration. Forum 11, for instance, attracted research for health actors from 77 countries, 60% of participants coming from low- and middle-income countries.

Focusing on a new theme each year, the Global Forum has been able to sustain the interest of regular participants and attract new ones with each successive meeting. The 2008 Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health attracted the record participation of over 1100 participants. (Stakeholder opinion - Dr Robert Ridley)

Geneva, Bangkok, Arusha, Mexico City, Mumbai, Cairo, Beijing, Bamako: the Global Forum is careful to move its annual meeting around the world, convinced that the organization in a different country and continent each time contributes to a cross-cultural exchange of contacts, knowledge and experience. (Stakeholder opinion - Dr Berit Olsson)

Forum 2009 took place in Havana, Cuba from 16 to 20 November 2009. Forum 2009 was one of our most successful forums in terms of engagement with more than 900 participants from 85 different countries, content of sessions and diversity of stakeholders. By underlining how innovation can play a role in achieving health equity for poor and disadvantaged populations, the Forum's Programme included innovative case studies from social entrepreneurs and innovative approaches to priority setting and health systems strengthening. More