Philippe Douste-Blazy

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Philippe Douste-Blazy
Douste.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
2 June 2005 – 15 May 2007
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by Michel Barnier
Succeeded by Bernard Kouchner
Minister of Health
In office
31 March 2004 – 2 June 2005
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded by Jean-François Mattéi
Succeeded by Xavier Bertrand
Minister of Culture
In office
18 May 1995 – 2 June 1997
Prime Minister Alain Juppé
Preceded by Jacques Toubon
Succeeded by Catherine Trautmann
Personal details
Born (1953-01-01) 1 January 1953 (age 63)
Lourdes, France
Political party Centre of Social Democrats (Before 1995)
Democratic Force (1995–1997)
Union for French Democracy (1997–2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2015)
Republicans (2015–present)
Alma mater University of Toulouse
Religion Roman Catholicism

Philippe Douste-Blazy (born 1 January 1953) is a United Nations official and former French centre-right politician. He has been Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development in the United Nations since 2008 and chairman of UNITAID since 2006.

He previously served as French Minister for Health (1993–1995 and 2004–2005), Minister of Culture (1995–1997) and as Foreign Minister in the cabinet of Dominique de Villepin (2005–2007). He was mayor of Lourdes 1989–2000 and mayor of Toulouse 2001–2004.

Originally a member of the Centre of Social Democrats (CDS), the Christian Democrat component of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) party, he later joined the Union for a Popular Movement.

A cardiologist of profession he became Professor at Toulouse Sciences University in 1988.

Early years[edit]

Born in Lourdes in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Douste-Blazy studied medicine in Toulouse, where he had his first job in 1976. He then worked as a cardiologist in Lourdes and Toulouse, namely in Purpan's hospital from 1986. He then joined the French Society of Cardiology. He became Professor of Medicine at Toulouse Sciences University in 1988. Since 2016, he has also been a visiting Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Political career[edit]

Early beginnings[edit]

A member of the Centre of Social Democrats (CDS), the Christian Democrat component of the Union for French Democracy (UDF), Douste-Blazy entered politics in March 1989, being elected mayor of Lourdes. He was also elected national director of the association of research against elevations of cholesterol.

Member of the European Parliament, 1989–1993[edit]

In the 1989 European elections, Douste-Blazy was elected Member of the European Parliament in June of the same year. He was then a member of the European People's Party.

During his time in parliament, Douste-Blazy served on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection. In addition to his committee assignments, he was a member of the parliament’s delegation to the Joint Assembly of the Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP countries) and the European Economic Community.

Minister of Health, 1993–1995[edit]

Elected deputy for Hautes-Pyrénées département in March 1993, Douste-Blazy was appointed to the cabinet of Edouard Balladur as Minister-Delegate (a junior minister) at the Ministry for Health.

In May 1994, in his capacity as minister, Douste-Blazy visited Rwanda and refugee camps in neighboring Tanzania to witness the consequences of the genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi by members of Rwanda’s Hutu majority government.[1] During his time in office, France approved a bill which prohibited postmenopausal pregnancy, which Douste-Blazy said was "...immoral as well as dangerous to the health of mother and child."

Douste-Blazy stayed at the ministry until the 1995 presidential election. In March 1994, he was elected at Hautes-Pyrénées's General Council. He became general secretary of the CDS in December and Government's spokesman one month later.

Minister of Culture, 1995–1997[edit]

In May 1995, after the election of Jacques Chirac as President of France, a candidacy he was backing, Douste-Blazy was nominated Minister of Culture. In June, he was also re-elected Mayor of Lourdes then, five months later, elected general secretary of Democratic Force, the party which replaced the CDS .

In June 1997, the overwhelming defeat of the Presidential Majority during legislative election made him lose his position as Minister of Culture, but he remained deputy of Hautes-Pyrénées and became president of the UDF parliamentary group at the French National Assembly. During the election campaign he was badly hurt when a mentally unstable man stabbed him in the back as he was campaigning in Lourdes. It turned out that the Minister's assailant was an Albanian refugee who had already tried to attack Mr Douste-Blazy in 1992.

At the head of the centerist parliamentary group, he was often opposed to the UDF party leader François Bayrou. Indeed, while this one advocated the emancipation of the UDF towards its Gaullist allies, Douste-Blazy proposed the union of the right-wing parties behind President Chirac.

Mayor of Toulouse, 2001–2004[edit]

Seeking one of the country's most important municipal seats,[2] Douste-Blazy narrowly won the election for Mayor of Toulouse in 2001, which saw the left making its best showing in decades. Once in office, he had to deal with a reinvigorated political opposition, as well as with the dramatic explosion of the AZF plant in late 2001.

Douste-Blazy supported Jacques Chirac in the two rounds of the 2002 presidential election, in spite of the candidacy of François Bayrou. Consequently, he participated to the unification of some right-wing groups in the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and appeared as a possible Prime Minister. However, once re-elected, President Chirac choose Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Philippe Douste-Blazy refused to resign from its mayoralty to be minister. The same year, he changed of constituency and was elected deputy for Haute-Garonne département.

After the electoral crash of the UMP in the 2004 regional election, Douste-Blazy left its function in Toulouse and returned at the Ministry of Health. His predecessor Jean-François Mattéi was discredited due to his behaviour during the Summer 2003 heatwave crisis. He was the instigator of a new reform of medical insurances.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2005–2007[edit]

In a government reshuffle following the rejection of the European constitution in 29 May 2005's referendum, Douste-Blazy replaced Michel Barnier[3] and became Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

In his capacity as minister, Douste-Blazy summoned Iran's ambassador to France in October 2005, demanding an explanation for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 's public call for Israel to be "wiped off the map."[4] He announced France’s support for the Israeli separation barrier on 25 October 2006.[5] In November 2006, he summoned Israel's ambassador to Paris, Daniel Shek to express "serious concern" about violations of a ceasefire that ended the 33-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.[6]

During his time in office, France played a central role in international attempts to end the bloodshed in the 2006 Lebanon War.[7] In October 2006, the French National Assembly, despite Douste-Blazy’s opposition,[8] passed a bill which if approved by the Senate and would make Armenian Genocide denial a crime.[9]

Douste-Blazy left the position with the departure of Jacques Chirac from the Presidency in May 2007. He did not run for a new parliamentary term in the 2007 elections.

On 6 November 2007, Douste-Blazy was among the guests invited to the state dinner hosted by President George W. Bush in honor of President Nicolas Sarkozy at the White House.[10]

United Nations[edit]

While serving as foreign minister of France, Douste-Blazy became chairman of the Executive Board of UNITAID, the International Drug Purchase Facility hosted by the World Health Organization which France co-founded in 2006.

On 19 February 2008, Douste-Blazy was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development, with the rank of UN Under-Secretary-General. He is also the chairman of the board of the Millennium Foundation for Innovate Finance for Health.

His main responsibilities as the Special Adviser include promoting UNITAID and other sources of innovative financing for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), advising the United Nations Secretary-General on innovative financing solutions to the implementation of the Monterrey consensus, coordinating with the High-Level Group on the MDGs, and liaising with various UN and non-UN related institutions, such as the main Bretton Woods institutions, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC), the United Nations Development Group and the Millennium Communication Campaign.[11]

Douste-Blazy was also in charge of organizing the first World Conference of Non-Governmental Donors, with a special focus on the financing for development provided by citizens, local and regional authorities, foundations, non-governmental organizations, economic and social representatives, faith groups and the private sector. It is hoped that these innovative sources of funding could compensate the insufficient official development assistance in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Ahead of the 2012 presidential elections, Douste-Blazy announced in January 2012 that he no longer supported Nicolas Sarkozy and instead was lending his support to centrist candidate François Bayrou.[12]

Political functions[edit]

Governmental functions

Minister of Health and government's spokesman : 1993–1995.

Minister of Culture and government's spokesman : 1995–1997.

Minister of Solidarity, Health and Family : 2004–2005.

Minister of Foreign Affairs : 2005–2007.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament : 1989–1993 (Became minister in 1993 and elected in parliamentary elections in March 1993).

National Assembly of France

President of the group of Union for French Democracy : 1998–2002.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Hautes-Pyrénées : Elected in March 1993 but he became minister / 1997–2001 (Resignation). Elected in 1993, reelected in 1997.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Haute-Garonne : 2001–2004 (Became minister in 2004). Elected in 2001, reelected in 2002.

General Council

General councillor of Hautes-Pyrénées : 1994–2001.

Municipal Council

Mayor of Toulouse : 2001–2004.

Deputy-mayor of Toulouse : 2004–2008.

Municipal councillor of Toulouse : 2001–2008.

Mayor of Lourdes : 1989–2000 (Resignation). Reelected in 1995.

Municipal councillor of Lourdes : 1989–2001. Reelected in 1995.

Urban community Council

President of the Urban community of Greater Toulouse : 2001–2008.

Member of the Urban community of Greater Toulouse : 2001–2008.

Political functions

General secretary of the Union for a Popular Movement : 2002–2004.

Other activities[edit]

  • GBCHealth, Member of the Board of Directors[13]
  • Innovative Finance Foundation (IFF), Member of the Advisory Board[14]
  • International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV), Member of the Board of Directors[15]

Recognition[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Toubon
Minister of Culture
1995–1997
Succeeded by
Catherine Trautmann
Preceded by
Jean-François Mattéi
Minister of Health
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Xavier Bertrand
Preceded by
Michel Barnier
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Bernard Kouchner