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Excellencies, distinguished delegates, good morning.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
I would like to start by thanking his Excellency Mr Kaha Imnadze Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations and His Excellency Mr Vitavas Srivihok Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations for facilitating this process and by expressing gratitude for all the work that, over the past months, their teams have invested into preparations for the high-level meeting on universal health coverage.
In order to meet SDG Target 3.8 and "achieve Universal Health Coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all", substantial efforts will have to be made by all Member States, and I thank you for your involvement and presence here today.
The European Union and its Member States fully support a comprehensive definition of Universal Health Coverage and the shared commitment to achieve this objective by 2030.
Universal health coverage can only be achieved through an integrated approach to health; if we cover different settings, including crisis and emergency situations; if we combat anti-microbial resistance; and if we address health services, including sexual and reproductive health, promotion and disease prevention.
Let me also underline: that Essential public health functions and the International Health Regulations' core capacities need to be strengthened; that vaccinations are a key element of prevention; that evidence based medicine is the only viable way to be effective achieving results; and that to realize universal health coverage "innovative services in digital health" and "e-health" should be included.
Thank you for the zero draft of the universal health coverage political declaration. Our initial reactions are that it is a sound basis for negotiations and we fully support the co-facilitators’ aim for the political declaration to be concise and action-focused. We are looking into the detail and will make specific proposals within the requested time frame.
The European Union and its Member States look forward to engaging in a constructive manner in this discussion, key for SDG number 3, a truly central goal to the 2030 Agenda and to our commitment to leaving no one behind. We are optimistic that together we will reach consensus on a strong political declaration, and we remain fully committed to work with you during the coming weeks.