European Union External Action

WHO - 71st World Health Assembly - EU Statement: Agenda item – 11.1 - Draft thirteen general programme of work, 2019-2023

Geneva, 25/05/2018 - 11:00, UNIQUE ID: 180529_5
Statements on behalf of the EU

WHO 71st World Health Assembly (21-26 May 2018) Agenda item – 11.1 Draft thirteen General Programme of Work, 2019-2023 EU Statement

Mr. Chairman,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro[*], Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

We welcome the GPW with its proposed priorities and the overarching goal to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. We furthermore welcome the stronger alignment with the SDGs, the strengthening of WHO’s normative and standard setting function, the clear commitment to gender equality and gender mainstreaming, the enhanced recognition of broad determination of health, the importance of the WHO working in partnership with all other relevant actors, and the One UN approach. We expect transformational shifts described in the GPW to make WHO a committed player in the implementation of the reform of the UN development system.

The three "1 billion goals" can only be attained through a collaborative effort between WHO, its Member States, development partners, UN colleagues as well as the World Bank, the GFATM and Gavi who are all partners to WHO. We look forward to further information on how WHO will measure its contribution to reaching the three goals, particularly in countries that are in transition from external funding to domestic funding for health in due course.

We appreciate the road maps for both UHC as well as Public Health Emergencies but we request a more elaborate road map for the third pillar on how to ensure “More Healthy Populations” focusing on multi-sectorial work, tackling the broader determinants of health and contributing to more healthy societies.

We commend the DG for the strong commitment and hard work to finalise the GPW one year ahead of schedule. However, we regret that the vital supporting documents requested by the EB were released late. This prevents MS from having full confidence that this ambitious plan is deliverable. The WHO must ensure these documents are made fit-for-purpose as a priority following this Assembly. We reaffirm that approval of the GPW does not constitute a commitment to fund the GPW.

The GPW requests WHO to establish an independent accountability and oversight mechanism to monitor delivery of the GPW. We request an update in this respect.

We support a strong global normative role for WHO as the leading health actor, including strong presence at country level where appropriate. These solutions should build on the comparative advantages of in-country actors and take into account the efficiency of existing partner coordination mechanisms.

We feel it is important to reemphasize the need for this reform to be accompanied by an evaluation and a needs based assessmet of each country office, including their capability to manage increased responsibilities, as well as of the implications for entities where resources would be shifted from. We would welcome such information to be ready as soon as possible, in order for us to agree to an increase in the budget for country offices.

The collaboration between WHO HQ and country offices must be strengthened, in order to oversee the implementation of WHO’s strategy worldwide. We would like to see a plan for managerial reforms with clear KPIs for the monitoring of impact on the quality and efficiency of WHO’s work at the three levels of the organisation.

The EU and its Member States are ready to support the GPW as drafted, and we urge that the vital supporting documents are further developed as a priority following this Assembly. We call upon MS to approve its adoption.

Thank you !

[*] Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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