World Health Assembly Concludes With Call For Strong WHO
This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an abridged version of the World Health Assembly was held virtually from May 18 to 19, 2020. The 73rd session of the World Health Assembly concluded with call for a strong World Health Organization (WHO).
#WHA73 adopts a resolution introduced by #EU and its Member States on the #COVID19 Response with nearly 140 cosponsors. strong commitment to #solidarity #collaboration #LeaveNoOneBehind #ProtectTheVulnerable pic.twitter.com/w5gWLOLAAo
— Outi Kuivasniemi (@OutiKuivasniemi) May 19, 2020
The response to the resolution is the strongest commitment yet from the global community to international cooperation in fighting the pandemic as well as ensuring access to COVID-19 treatments and future vaccines.
The resolution also called for an independent evaluation of WHO’s performance during the pandemic.
World leaders affirmed the need for multi-lateral cooporation between member states in the fight against COVID-19. The EU-led “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator” was pointed out by Colombia’s President Iván Duque Márquez as a step in the right direction. World leaders also emphasized the need to modernize the WHO to be able to respond to new challenges. Member states added that the International Health Regulations, the binding convention governing health emergency responses, needs to be further strengthened.
On #WHA73 resolution – “All relevant international treaties should be harnessed, including the provisions of the #TRIPS agreement” to ensure #equitable #access to #health technologies @DrTedros 👉https://t.co/vTSJupY9oA
The COVID-19 vaccine should be a “global public good.”
— Health Policy Watch – Global Health News Reporting (@HealthPolicyW) May 20, 2020
Movendi International Statement at 73rd World Health Assembly
Movendi International participated virtually in the assembly and submitted an official statement. President Kristina Sperkova expressed that Movendi International stands with WHO in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and supports the commitment to science, solutions, and solidarity in fighting the current public health crisis.
In the statement, Ms Sperkova also emphasized that one important factor in the fight against the pandemic is reducing alcohol harm which burdens healthcare systems. It was therefore important to prioritize addressing health risk factors for emergency preparedness, for health system sustainability and for the overall health and well-being of populations.
Movendi International Official Statement #WHA73 Agenda item 3
Addressing the need for comprehensive healthcare, investing in health promotion, building sustainable health systems, addressing health risk factors in emergency preparedness#AlcoholHarms pic.twitter.com/hak3kxbqzo
— Movendi International (@Movendi_Int) May 18, 2020
Movendi International called for governments to:
- Mitigate the unintended consequences of lockdowns on risk factors particularly tobacco and alcohol use, as these jeopardize the efficacy of public health measures and health system functioning and fuel the disease burden.
- Use recovery plans to advance universal health coverage. The global focus on health provides an opportunity to make progress towards reaching health for all.
- Act on the lessons learned, especially regarding the importance of domestic resource mobilization and investments in UHC through taxation of health harmful products.
- Institute more comprehensive and coherent approaches to protecting the health of populations. Emerging evidence indicates that people with substance use disorders or people in recovery from such disorders have not received adequate attention during the pandemic, leading to avoidable disability, and likely fueling waves of alcohol harm in the aftermath of the pandemic. Not alcohol retail is essential but services and care for people with alcohol problems.
For further reading and more background information about the virtual, de minimis WHA73 dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic
The World Health Assembly
- Abridged provisional agenda (PDF)
- Draft Covid-19 Resolution (PDF)
- Inviting Taiwan as an observer (PDF)
- Special procedure: New document A73/33 (PDF)
- See also: Speakers list of Member States
Webcast and WHO pages
- WHO promotional page: WHO and the WHA – an explainer
- For the media: WHA news releases, speeches (including by world leaders)
CSO analysis and input
- Non-state actor statements (including Movendi International’s short version statement)
- Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2) guide