The International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) are an agreement legally binding on 196 State Parties, including all Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO). As a Member State of the WHO, Australia is obliged to comply with the IHR.
Following the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa in 2013, there has been a renewed global focus on accelerating implementation of the IHR as a means of strengthening health systems and ensuring countries are capable of responding quickly and effectively to emerging global health threats. The Joint External Evaluation (JEE) Program is one component of the WHO’s new IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, and was developed as a mechanism to evaluate the extent to which a country has complied with a minimum set of core capacities set out in the IHR.
Australia’s involvement in the JEE Program provides an opportunity to assess capacity against international standards and provide strategic direction to future improvement efforts. Australia is committed to supporting other Member States, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, to participate and strengthen their core capacities under the IHR.
The results of Australia’s JEE, completed in 2017, indicate a very high level of capacity against the IHR. Australia’s National Action Plan for Health Security 2019-2023 was developed to guide the implementation of recommendations from the JEE in order to further strengthen our capabilities.