Director-General’s closing remarks at the World Health Assembly – 31 May 2021
Respected President Madam,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues and Friends.
First of all, I would like to thank His Excellency Tasho Dechen Wangmo for your leadership as President of the 74th World Health Council this week.
I would also like to thank the Chairman of Committee A, Dr. Adriana Amarilla of Paraguay and Dr. Efremi Vaginbede, President of Group I of Fiji. Thank you so much for your leadership this week.
I would like to thank all Member States for the constructive and co-operation you have given this week to address the entire agenda of mitigating health challenges.
I know that last week was the culmination of several months of work for several colleagues – Member States and Secretaries – who devoted a long time to consultation, negotiation and production, which resulted in a smooth and successful assembly.
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This morning you approved a landmark resolution strengthening the WHO response and response to emergencies.
I would like to thank all member states for their support and strengthening of WHO.
The IPPPR report, the IHR Review Panel and the IOAC are united in their view that the world needs a strong WHO at the heart of the global health infrastructure.
Each report contains several recommendations on how to achieve this, and many of these recommendations require further discussion among member states.
As stated in all reports and emphasized by many Member States, change in the quantity and quality of funds is an important issue for the Secretariat.
Throughout this gathering, several member states spoke of relying on WHO experts at all levels for technical guidance. Our employees appreciate this very much.
But the truth of our financial model is that many of these specialist associates are on short-term contracts, and even if they are not, their plans need to be planned in a tight circle and financial light.
Even in the midst of this pandemic, we are faced with a serious challenge to maintain the WHO response to the current level of COVID-19.
This past week you have heard about WHO integration in the country, the technical support and guidance we provide, skill development and training of health workers, raising orders, critical materials, wave ordering and much more.
Everything has to be funded. We cannot praise people.
WHO cannot prosper without sustainable funding.
This is not a new issue. More sustainable funding is one of my priorities as part of the WHO transformation.
However, there are two main differences in this assembly.
First, the message that a strong WHO should be properly funded is corroborated by all expert analyzes reported to this Legislature.
But the other thing that is different is that we have a way forward.
I would also like to thank the Executive Committee on Sustainable Finance for the work done so far and for encouraging the interim report to this Legislature. Special thanks to Germany and Bjarne Kammel for leading this effort. We are waiting for its final report to the board in January.
I would also like to thank the Member States for approving the budget plan for 2022 and 2023.
In order to strengthen the WHO in the long run, I urge Member States to seize this critical moment and list a course on a sustainable financial model through the recommendations of the Executive Committee.
In the medium term, I urge you to fully fund the next project budget.
In the short term, I urge you to fill critical gaps in WHO’s strategic preparedness and response, which require flexible funding to deliver on the promise we made by the ACT and save lives.
As you know, the theme of this gathering is “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next pandemic.”
In fact, we still have a lot to do to end this pandemic.
We strongly urge that cases and deaths continue to decline around the world, but it would be a huge mistake to assume that any country is out of danger.
Individual and frequent use of public health measures, including appropriate vaccination, is out of the question.
I urge all member states to support the targets set for Monday and to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of all countries by the end of September and at least 30% by the end of the year.
One day – I hope soon – the pandemic is behind us, but for those who have lost loved ones, and for health workers who have passed the break, hundreds of millions of people face months of loneliness and isolation. Huh.
We will still face the same effects that allowed a small explosion to become a global pandemic.
Contagious questions cannot be answered by new companies, methods, facilities or processes.
The challenges we face are deep, so are the solutions we devised.
Strengthening the World Health Organization certainly means strengthening the Secretariat, but it also means strengthening relations between member states, which is very important.
That is why one recommendation that I think is most likely to strengthen both WHO and global health care is the recommendation for an agreement on pandemic preparedness and response; This, as I said earlier, can improve relations between member states and encourage cooperation.
It’s time for a thought.
We need a development commitment that keeps the budget, the election cycle and the media still alive.