WHO Office at the United Nations

World Health Day 2019 commemoration in New York

4 April 2019 - The World Health Organization office at the United Nations, commemorated World Health Day 2019 on the theme “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere, focusing on Primary Health Care”. Over 100 participants across sectors, including Member States, the UN system, academia, civil society and the private sector joined the lively solidary reception held at the Waterfront Club in New York, to congratulate WHO and reiterate their commitment and support for #HealthForAll and the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in September 2019.

Informal Briefing of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage and Global Health - Multi-stakeholder “Key Asks” and views for the High-level Meeting on UHC

1 April, UN – WHO participated in a meeting of the Group of Friends on Universal Health Coverage to present an overview of work undertaken thus far on the SDG3+ Global Action Plan and on preparations for the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on UHC in September. UHC2030 presented the key asks obtained from stakeholders after an online consultation and how these would contribute to an actionable set of commitments at the September high level meeting. On 29 April, the President of the General Assembly will hold a multi-stakeholder hearing to ensure all stakeholders formally contribute to the outcome of the high-level meeting.

WHO Director-General appoints Mr Stewart Simonson to lead the WHO office at the UN in New York

WHO Director-General appoints Mr Stewart Simonson, Assistant-Director General, to lead the WHO office at the United Nations in New York, as part of the reform process to drive towards WHO’s strategic plan of “triple billion”: one billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage (UHC); one billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being. Mr. Simonson will also lead WHO’s work on UN Reform to ensure coherence in delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

WHO briefing on WHO’s Attacks on Health Care Initiative

8 March 2019 - WHO along with the Permanent Missions of France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay co-sponsored a briefing on WHO’s Attacks on Health Care Initiative. Member States highlighted the critical aspects of attacks on health care and outlined initiatives as well as activities that have taken place at the UN over the past few years. This includes the adoption of Security Council resolution 2286, which is a landmark resolution condemning attacks on health care in conflict, as well as the SG’s recommendations to the international community to take concrete actions to stop such attacks. Dr. Jeong Kim from WHO, spoke in detail about WHO’s Initiative, the Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care, and outlined next steps for the Initiative.

Briefing on Primary Health Care

21 February 2019 - Nata Menabde, Executive Director, WHO office at the UN, moderated a briefing on Primary Health Care (PHC) organized by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN. The panel included H.E. Yelzhan Birtanov, Minister of Health from Kazakhstan, and Permanent Representatives to the UN from Kazakhstan, Thailand, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan as well as the Senior Adviser on Health in the Executive Office of the Secretary General. The discussion focused on ways to carry the vision of the Declaration of Astana forward and work together on implementing PHC to deliver Universal Health Coverage.

Rare Diseases Day

21 February 2019 - Nata Menabde, Executive Director, WHO office at the UN moderated a session on UHC at the 2nd high-level event at the UN to commemorate Rare Diseases Day. She highlighted the importance of UHC including efficient and equitable health care systems in order to reduce inequalities to ensure no one is left behind, including persons with rare diseases, as we strive to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Dr. Ruediger Krech, WHO, also participated in the event.

UN Member States briefing on the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

15 February 2019 - The Group of Friends of UHC, chaired by Japan, hosted an initial briefing for Member States on the outcomes of the WHO Executive Board, New York high-level meeting process, and took stock of Member States’ expectations and priorities for the outcome document and upcoming HLM on UHC. The panel included the President of the UN General Assembly, Permanent Representatives of Japan and Thailand, WHO Assistant Director General Naoko Yamamoto, and WHO Office at the UN Executive Director Dr Nata Menabde. This briefing was well attended by over 100 participants, with over 70 member states represented, several at ambassadorial level.

International Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day 2018

12 December 2018 - On International Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, the World Health Organization Office at the United Nations, together with the newly established Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (core group: Brazil, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, South Africa, Thailand), hosted a flagship event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The discussion, which was moderated by WHO/UN’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Werner Obermeyer, explored multi-stakeholder perspectives on the UHC agenda and the upcoming High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (HLM-UHC) with contributions from Permanent Representatives, the UN system, UHC2030, and civil society representatives.

UN Security Council adopts resolution on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

On 30 October 2018, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding unhindered access and protection for humanitarian and medical personnel who are working to save lives and to end the outbreak.
The resolution also calls for international support and engagement as well as accelerating funding to combat the outbreak. Negotiations on the text for the resolution were sparked by two recent briefings to the Council from the WHO Director General.

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HighlightsWHO unveils sweeping reforms in drive towards “triple billion” targets

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Disease outbreaks and emergencies

WHO Office at UN ensures that disease outbreaks and health in emergencies remain on the global political agenda by engaging with different partners.

WHO reform, Emergency capacities

WUN regularly updates and provides information on the WHO reform process, and keeps WHO headquarters informed of any relevant information that comes out of the UN to support the process.

Communicable diseases and NTDs

WHO Office at UN ensures that infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis are a priority on the global political agenda.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)

Meeting on noncommunicable diseases

WUN ensures that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) remain a priority on the global political agenda through advocacy at the UN, stakeholder engagement, follow-up on high-level meetings.

Climate change and human health

WHO Office at UN engages with Member States and partners to ensure that climate change impacts on human health are understood and reflected in all sustainable development discussions.

Women's health, gender and human rights

WUN works to ensure that health issues for women and girls, such as violence against women, female genital mutilation, sexual and reproductive health remain priorities for UN member states.