Work continues to strengthen preparedness and response for health emergencies
Today at the World Health Assembly, delegates in Committee A concluded discussions on Item 14 and parts of Item 15, noting the reports under these items, voting on two proposals, and agreeing to defer another for later in the week.
The WHO Secretariat responded to comments and questions from delegates, observers and other organizations received over the past day. The Chief Scientist said work would continue to strengthen clinical trials in emergencies. WHO’s Executive Director of emergencies appreciated Member States’ support for WHO’s ongoing work in emergencies, and the recognition of the need to give the organization the resources it needs to continue. (WHO is currently responding to over 55 emergencies that have received official grading, 14 of which requiring support from all three levels of the organization). The Director-General said WHO would continue to work to align the various processes for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
Delegates noted the following reports: one from the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme which reviews WHO’s work in emergencies annually, a regular report on the implementation of the International Health Regulations, WHO’s annual report on its work in emergencies, and its work on strengthening preparedness for and response to emergencies. The latter included a paper on strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response and resilience (known by the acronym HEPR).
Delegates voted on two proposals related to the health emergency in Ukraine. The draft decision on “Health emergency in Ukraine and refugee-receiving and -hosting countries, stemming from the Russian Federation’s aggression” was adopted (80 yes, 9 no, 52 abstentions). The draft resolution on “Health emergency in and around Ukraine” was not adopted (62 no, 13 yes, 61 abstentions).
On the Global Health for Peace Initiative, delegates agreed to consider the item later in the Assembly, following informal consultations slated to continue.
In Committee B, delegates considered a report on “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” In a vote, they adopted the decision (76 yes, 13 no, 35 abstentions).
Documents A76/7 Rev.1 Add.2, A76/7 Rev.1 Add.3, A76/8, A76/9 Rev.1, A76/10, A76/11, A76/12 and A76/15
A76/7 Rev.1 Add.2
Global Health for Peace Initiative
A76/7 Rev.1 Add.3Financial and administrative implications for the Secretariat of decisions proposed for adoption by the Health Assembly
A76/7 Rev.1 Add.4Financial and administrative implications for the Secretariat of decisions proposed for adoption by the Health Assembly
A76/8Public health emergencies: preparedness and response The Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme
A76/9 Rev.1Implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005)
A76/10Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies Strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response and resilience
A76/11WHO’s work in health emergencies Public health emergencies: preparedness and response
Implementation of resolution WHA75.11 (2022)
A76/15Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan
Delegates discuss critical financing needs to address climate related health crisis
Today, Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly delegates participated in a Strategic Roundtable on The role of the health community in climate action: taking stock and moving forward, during which the critical intersections of climate change and health were discussed, including its impact on millions of people worldwide.
The meeting heard compassionate pleas from John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change and Dr Vanessa Kerry, Chief Executive Officer of Seed Global Health. The father and daughter climate advocates highlighted the top political importance of the agenda for today’s and future generations, pushing for smarter investments and solutions to bring a catalytic impact across sectors.
As the incoming Presidency for COP28, the United Arab Emirates pledged to further elevate the importance of health by announcing the first-ever dedicated Health Day and the convening of the inaugural Health and Climate Ministerial meeting at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) in Dubai in November 2023.
Germany underscored its commitment of €2 billion additional funding for the Green Climate Fund to support efforts in low- and middle-income countries. The BBC Studios also showcased its upcoming production, entitled “Climate and Us”, underlining the importance of public communication and discussion on climate and health crisis.
The meeting heard that 70% of reporting countries identified lack of funding as a top barrier in addressing the health impacts of climate change. Through the WHO ATACH (Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health) initiative, already supported by 66 countries, WHO is reviewing whether existing finance mechanisms can be adapted to meet this challenge, or whether new instruments are needed.
In concluding the strategic discussion, the WHO Director-General highlighted that climate change and health action are falling between the siloes of climate financing and health financing and emphasized the need for urgent and increased investment in the climate and health agenda.