EFNA announced as WHO/Europe Non-State Actor

October 15, 2023

Today, at the 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, a decision on engagement with Non-State actors (NSA) was adopted. We are pleased to announce that the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) has been granted official Non-State Actor status with WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), with the right to attend meetings of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe and submit statements.

This recognition is an honour for EFNA as it brings the voice of those affected by neurological conditions closer to the multilateral organisation. The WHO Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors (FENSA) serves to recognise the essential role of non-profit organisations to advance and promote public health at global, regional, national and community levels.

Over the past several years, EFNA has enjoyed a fruitful, informal collaboration with WHO/Europe, marked by numerous collaborations, including in-person meetings in Copenhagen. In 2022 EFNA applied for Non-State Actor status and submitted a comprehensive three-year work plan. It is with great pleasure that we announce EFNA’s acceptance as a Non-State Actor with WHO/Europe today.

The WHO/Europe region is expansive, encompassing 53 countries and nearly one billion people. While EFNA’s activities have primarily been centred in Brussels and the EU, our identity is fundamentally European. This partnership with WHO/Europe will enable us to broaden our reach, benefiting patients, caregivers and patient organisations across the continent.

WHO/Europe holds a pivotal role in the European implementation of WHO’s Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (IGAP). EFNA is committed to collaborating with WHO to galvanise European nations into action, ensuring they meet the targets set forth within the Plan.

Central to this endeavour is the patient perspective. EFNA is uniquely positioned to equip WHO with essential tools and expertise, aimed at mitigating the increasing burden of neurological conditions and enhancing brain health for all Europeans.

Tadeusz Hawrot, EFNA’s Senior Policy Advisor, is participating this week at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan. In addition to his active participation, EFNA has also submitted a written statement corresponding to a relevant agenda item for the meeting. This statement urges European governments to implement the WHO’s IGAP, whilst recognising the crucial role that WHO/Europe plays in guiding the Plan’s implementation across Europe.