Single programming document 2021-2023
In 2021, ECDC will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support the efforts of Member States and the Commission. The Centre will also start the implementation of a strategy that will guide its efforts towards 2027. The general priorities of the Centre will, among priorities approved by the Management Board, support implementing some of the priorities highlighted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Over the last 15 years, ECDC has demonstrated its relevance and the benefits it brings to Member States and the EU, by providing pertinent scientific advice, collecting and analysing surveillance data across Europe, assessing risks, supporting capacities and adding value through increased synergies, including with relevant international organisations, such as WHO. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us how necessary the collation and exchange of data and information across Member States, facilitated by ECDC, the timely delivery of rapid risk assessments and the provision by the Centre of scientific evidence at EU level are. The pandemic has had a profound impact on public health and healthcare systems globally, and its massive consequences on economies around the world remind us that, rather than just being a cost, public health and preparedness for crises constitute some of the most important investments our societies should ensure.
In 2021, ECDC will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support the efforts of Member States and the Commission. Based on lessons learned and after-action reviews in countries, a major challenge will be to put in place effective integrated surveillance systems for COVID-19 as an investment for the future, as well as robust systems to support vaccine uptake and measure their effectiveness. In the same sense, work on preparedness will be enhanced with the aim of revisiting and updating preparedness and contingency plans at EU level and in Member States.
The Centre will also start the implementation of a strategy that will guide its efforts towards 2027. The objectives are to be better equipped to respond to unforeseen threats, to be more relevant in addressing the individual needs of Member States, and to perform better as an organisation. When building its strategy, ECDC has largely taken into consideration the results of external and internal evaluations, as well as the views of its main stakeholders. In 2019, the third external evaluation of ECDC for the period 2013−2017 showed that ECDC’s role is widely recognised and appreciated among its stakeholders, and its value acknowledged.
Our ultimate aim is ‘to improve lives in Europe, and globally apply scientific excellence, thus empowering Member States, the European Commission, and other partners to drive public health policy and practice’.
In addition to the priority efforts dedicated to the COVID-19 crisis, 2021 will be a year of transition into the ECDC Strategy 2021-2027, with the setting of the first milestones and the continuation of efforts started in different areas:
- ECDC will continue to fulfil the core missions set in its Founding Regulation (such as the collection of surveillance data across Europe, epidemic intelligence, the provision of rapid risk assessments, training activities, scientific advice, supporting microbiology laboratories’ performance in Europe, and the coordination of communicable diseases networks across the EU);
- The Centre will further develop or finalise projects launched in previous years, such as the reengineering of its surveillance systems, the establishment of a foresight function, the assessment of new technologies and e-health in the area of communicable diseases, now integrated in the strategy.
To ensure that the multi-annual and annual work programmes will contribute to implementing the ECDC strategy, the structures of the Programming Document and the strategy are aligned.
The general priorities of the Centre will, among priorities approved by the Management Board, support implementing some of the priorities highlighted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. These include the implementation of the European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance and the cooperation at international level on antimicrobials; advocacy to promote vaccination and tackle vaccine hesitancy; work on e-health and contributing to the creation of a European Health Data Space to promote health data exchange. In the area of its mission and within available resources, the Centre will also contribute to the European Green Deal and the EU Next Generation recovery programme. With the reinforcement of the EU’s and countries’ preparedness being critical to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emerging cross-border threats to health, these are issues at the core of ECDC’s mission, for which the Centre has already started to invest substantial efforts and which will remain among its highest priorities in the years to come.
Finally, the Centre will address the Management Board’s recommendations stemming from the Third External Evaluation of ECDC in 2019, and an action plan will be presented for approval to the Management Board by March 2021.