European Union External Action

EU General Statement – United Nations General Assembly: Resolution A/75/L.41 on Global Health and Foreign Policy

New York, 14/12/2020 - 22:39, UNIQUE ID: 201215_22
Statements on behalf of the EU

14 December 2020, New York - General Statement by the European Union and its Member States and aligning countries at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the Resolution A/75/L.41: Global Health and Foreign Policy: Strengthening Health System Resilience through Affordable Healthcare for All under Agenda item 131

We would like to thank Indonesia and the entire core group team for the continued efforts and engagement on the resolution.

This resolution traditionally covers a broad span of health issues of high importance and again this year clearly highlights the political relevance of health for the 2030 Agenda, the overall work of the UN and the importance of engagement at every level. We believe principle of leaving no one behind is central to these efforts. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated our vulnerability facing a tiny enemy with disastrous effects in terms of human suffering and economic decline.

 

Overall we consider this resolution constitutes an agreeable compromise.

It entails a couple of important elements like the clear commitments to human rights and to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the context of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Program of Action of the ICPD. We are also delighted to see that there is consensus about the importance of a One Health approach that fosters cooperation between human, animal and environmental health as this is of particular importance to prevent future epidemic diseases of zoonotic origin effectively as well as to address antimicrobial resistance.  

Nevertheless, we had to make a number of difficult compromises and are convinced the text would have benefitted from integrating also new elements like the acknowledgement of the effects of climate change increasingly affecting people’s health, as do other environmental changes such as the loss of biodiversity, water and air pollution.  The WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change clearly points to this and there is reliable data on the growing importance for our health.

The EU remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in this context and we would also have welcomed to see this in the text.

Most importantly, we deeply regret that the important ongoing evaluation process of the international health response to COVID-19 could finally not be reflected in this resolution. We are highly concerned to see that the respective para OP24 was deleted despite the existence of agreed language in the WHA 73.1 resolution, which was adopted by consensus. Given that this process is the basis of taking account of lessons-learnt in order to better protect the world in the future, we feel this omission constitutes a major gap.

We would also have strongly supported a clear understanding that our actions should be in line with a spirit of not undermining incentives for innovation.

Finally a word on process:  We thank the core group for their work on this year’s resolution. We encourage the process to be more inclusive in the drafting and consultation of this resolution. This year we note that the procedure was particularly rushed and seemed to favour a specific adoption date rather than being a properly negotiated text. We would strongly encourage reflection by core group members, and particularly next year’s chair, on more appropriate timelines that allow for truly meaningful consultation with the wider UN membership, both in New York and Geneva. We recommend taking advantage of this being a GA resolution to avoid overlap with the adoptions of 2C and 3C, and to provide adequate time for meaningful negotiation, rather than to be tied to a fixed date of adoption. We are looking forward to improved working methods next year and in the years to come and will continue to engage constructively.

Thank you.

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