Member Spotlight: UNITE

October 22, 2023

Dear Global Health Council Members,

UNITE is delighted to have become an official member of GHC, and we are eager to begin working alongside all of you. But you must be wondering what is UNITE, what are our main goals and activities?…

UNITE is short for UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health. We are a global network of over 380 current and former Members of Parliament (MPs), spread across more than 100 countries, and are the only Parliamentary network in the world currently focusing on the global health agenda. Alongside our members, we aim to translate evidence-based data into well-sustained policies at national, regional, and global levels to promote efficient and sustainable policies that support global health, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MPs can create, amend, and vote laws, structuring the legal framework of health national programs; they can influence allocation of funds for national and global health through the approval of national budgets; and they are also responsible for holding governments accountable for the promises made at global, regional, and national levels. As such, they are the most effective liaison between international commitments and national implementation, making Parliamentary Engagement essential to reach Universal Health Coverage.

With our more than 100 partners, we have been able to significantly maximise our impact on global health and raise such matters within the political agenda. We have led multiple national, regional and global projects and created platforms to support this work:

  • At the national and regional levels, UNITE works with Global Health Subcommittees and interest groups in Parliaments to effectively reach MPs who have the interest and expertise to work in global health.
  • At a global level, UNITE utilizes the International Forum on Global Health to effectively reach a higher number of Parliamentarians, but we also engage with the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
  • On a project level, we have established Policy Desks which develop specific initiatives to advance these topics across the world. Currently we have one on Digital Health and another on Drug Policy.

UNITE supports its members by promoting the exchange of good practices between MPs and by connecting them to relevant stakeholders, including by sharing advocacy toolkits, policy briefs and recommendations they developed, which we adapt to the MP’s specific context.

Over the past few years, UNITE has engaged in several international processes that aim to improve global health governance and architecture, such as the negotiations for the Pandemic Accord, the United-Nations High-Level meetings on health, and the World Health Assembly. We have also supported The Global Fund’s replenishment efforts, and supported MPs in developing multiple laws, including Ecuador’s first Mental Health Law and a normative regulation framework for digital health transformation in Argentina, among many others.

As UNITE, we are deeply committed to contributing to the work GHC and its members are developing, but we also hope to be able to support your initiatives and collaborate with any other interested members.  

UNITE’s President & Founder, Hon. Ricardo Baptista Leite, speaking at the United Nations Multistakeholder Hearing in Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness & Response (PPPR). New York, May 2023. 

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Hon. Mario Fiad, Argentinian Senator and UNITE Member, speaking at UNITE’s event on the Regulatory Framework for Digital Health Transformation in Argentina. Buenos Aires, October 2022

Organisational Mission – UNITE

UNITE is a non-profit, non-partisan, global network of current and former Members of Parliament from multinational, national, state, and regional Parliaments, Congresses, and Senates, committed towards the promotion of efficient and sustainable policies for improved global health systems, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

UNITE’s policy priorities focus on three cross-cutting areas, namely, human rights and equitable access to health, health systems strengthening, and global health architecture and security, placing UNITE as the only network of parliamentarians from around the world currently focusing on the global health agenda.

Author & Bio

Eléonor Silva, Executive Director

Eléonor is UNITE’s Executive Director – previously responsible for UNITE’s Parliamentary engagement and impact. She studied Law, followed by Communications, holding two Master’s degree from both Université Paris Dauphine and CELSA Paris Sorbonne.

After a diplomatic experience in Brazil, Eléonor joined the Global TB Caucus where she handled communications and advocacy efforts in the Portuguese speaking countries. While there, Eléonor coordinated the launch of the lusophone TB Caucus.

Eléonor has found a true vocation in global health advocacy, where she can exercise her passion for politics and external relations while creating a positive impact, working for global wellbeing.