152nd WHO Executive Board Constituency Statement: Agenda Item 12.1

January 30, 2023

Agenda Item 12.1: Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies

Strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience

For this constituency statement, Global Health Council is joined by: International Federation of Medical Students Associations, IntraHealth International, PATH, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Save the Children, Taskforce for Global Health, WaterAid, Women Deliver, Women in Global Health, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, and World Hospice and Palliative Care Association.

Global Health Council and its constituency support the proposals laid out in the document, Strengthening the Global Architecture for Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Resilience, or HEPR, and its guiding principles of coherence, equity, and inclusivity. We applaud the WHO Secretariat for its commitment to bring together the “universe” of health security strengthening proposals through this report. We call on the Secretariat to help connect these proposals to other ongoing processes.

We support that HEPR must be built on robust and resilient health systems and note that the 10 proposals are based on the need to respond effectively to future pandemics. Strengthening and investing in essential public health functions and primary and critical care services are essential. We are especially eager to champion the proposals to:

  • Elevate pandemic preparedness and response notably through exploring the potential of an emergency council;
  • Ensure the durability and complementarity of the pandemic accord with the IHR and through targeted amendments;
  • Strengthen the health workforce, the majority of whom are women, by ensuring regular compensation and safe and dignified working conditions with access to countermeasures, appropriate PPE, vaccines, and water, sanitation, and hygiene;
  • Strengthen partnerships, networks, and health data governance with the aim of fostering a “whole-of-society” approach to safely and equitably prevent, prepare, and respond to health emergencies;
  • Enhance coordination between finance and health policymakers, and sustainably finance the Pandemic Fund to effectively address preparedness gaps, including R&D, at the country-level; and
  • Put WHO at the center of the global HEPR architecture, recognizing WHO’s integral, inclusive, and transparent role in responding to health emergencies.

Lastly, to ensure these proposals move forward swiftly and with consensus, Member States must continue to drive ambition toward these proposals with critical guidance from the Secretariat. Since an effective HEPR requires multi-sectoral action and listening and co-crafting solutions with affected communities, Member States and the WHO must commit to ensuring the meaningful engagement of non-state actors, particularly civil society, in all aspects of advancing these proposals.