Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Position – United Nations General Assembly: Universal Health Coverage

New York, 10/10/2019 - 15:25, UNIQUE ID: 191011_2
Statements on behalf of the EU

10 October 2019, New York – Explanation of Position on behalf of the EU and its Member States, by Carlos Casal, Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Universal Health Coverage

Mister President, Excellencies,


I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.

At the outset, please allow me to appreciate the leadership of the United Nations in the global challenges we face and to commend the work of the co-facilitators for this political declaration, His Excellency Mr. Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia, and His Excellency Mr. Vitavas Srivihok, Permanent Representative of Thailand, as well as their teams for their patience and energy to reach consensus for this political declaration.

In the European Union we are firmly committed to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, they are our guiding policy framework. The EU is committed to protecting and promoting the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, in line with national regulations, and to promoting human dignity, well-being and prosperity. Health is an essential investment to achieve stable and prosperous societies, economic and social well-being and security.

We follow a rights-based approach, in accordance with the values that health systems within the EU are built on, values that are also enshrined in the European Consensus on Development.  The EU remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the outcomes of the review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, in this context. Having that in mind, the EU reaffirms its commitment to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right of every individual to have full control over, and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion and violence. The EU further stresses the need for universal access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education, including comprehensive sexuality education and health-care services.

The EU will also continue to support partner countries in their efforts to build strong, good quality and resilient health systems, by providing equitable access to medical services and universal health coverage. Eradicating poverty, tackling discriminations and inequalities and leaving no one behind will remain at the heart of EU development co-operation policy. 

The EU promotes a ‘health in all policies’ approach to ensure that underlying determinants of health are addressed beyond the health sector, such as gender equality, water and sanitation, education, food and nutrition security, decent work and social protection, environment and security.

We need a comprehensive outlook, one where we work to have more qualified health workers, access to vaccinations and affordable medicines, and where we make sure the health sector gets the financing it needs.

Together we have to face the demographic challenges, the rising occurrence of non-communicable diseases, in particular cancer, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance and vaccine hesitancy.

In closing, let me reassure you, of our ongoing and unwavering action to address universal health coverage at home and globally to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030.


Thank you.

* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.