GHC statement on WHO reform at the 73rd World Health Assembly

November 10, 2020

Global Health Council was unable to submit statements on all (or some) official agenda items.

Global Health Council, in collaboration with Global Health Technologies Coalition, Georgia Global Health Alliance, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Women in Global Health applaud efforts underway to improve WHO’s capacity to address the world’s most pressing health threats. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the role of WHO in providing guidance and coordination to its Member States as they prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats. It is critical that WHO, in collaboration with the United Nations, Member States, and civil society, address financing gaps for health security in order to prevent threats, such as COVID-19, in the future. 

We believe engaging a diverse set of stakeholders is essential to ensuring we leave no one behind and have a well-resourced WHO supported by a pillar of partnerships. We call for WHO to remain committed to gender and broader diversity in all aspects of leadership, especially in senior leadership and country office directors, and have gender equal and geographically diverse representation in advisory bodies. The WHO-CSO Task Team recommended establishing an Advisory and Oversight Committee on Equity to convene experts in gender equity and rights to support WHO strategy, provide high-level advice, promote accountability, and strengthen the goals of WHO’s mission. With recent demands on the organization during the pandemic, this group could support the organization’s critical work on gender, equity, and rights. 

To overcome COVID-19, WHO leadership is paramount. The global health community stands ready to ensure WHO is strongly positioned to confront future health threats.