29 January 2022
Your Excellency Dr Patrick Amoth, Chair of the Executive Board,
Excellencies, Regional Directors, dear colleagues and friends,
I know you are tired and looking forward to going home – and so am I – so I will keep my remarks brief.
We have come to the end of a long but very productive week.
Thank you for your hard work, and for the constructive spirit in which you have done it.
The agenda you are sending to the World Health Assembly reflects the scale of health challenges we face, as individual countries, and as a global community, as we continue to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic.
It also reflects the scale of your commitment to meeting those challenges, and to improving the health of the world’s people.
It reflects the scale of work we have to do, and the scale of expectations you have of your World Health Organization.
And it reflects why the world needs a strong, effective, empowered, efficient, accountable, transparent and sustainably financed WHO as the leading and directing authority on global health.
Your discussions this week have highlighted why there is no substitute for multilateralism; no substitute for working together in a spirit of solidarity to find consensus and move forward together.
I welcome your decision to recommend the extension of the 13th General Programme of Work to the World Health Assembly.
As I outlined in my opening remarks on Monday, the pandemic has only reinforced why the GPW, the “triple billion” targets, and the Sustainable Development Goals on which they based, are more relevant than ever, and why we must pursue them with even more ambition, innovation and cooperation.
Your Secretariat remains committed to supporting all Member States, individually and collectively:
To promote health and prevent disease;
To invest in primary health care and universal health coverage;
To strengthen global health security;
To harness the power of science, research, innovation, data and digital technologies;
And to build a WHO that is even more effective and efficient, more accountable and transparent.
In particular, many Member States have reaffirmed the critical leading role of WHO in renewing the global architecture for health emergencies, given the Organization’s unique mandate and universal membership.
You have emphasised the fundamental principles of inclusivity, equity and transparency in these reforms.
You have stressed the urgency of making progress on some of the key building blocks of that strengthening process.
You have urged the Secretariat to contribute to the global debate.
We have listened carefully to these calls. In advance of this year’s World Health Assembly, I undertake that the Secretariat will develop proposals, in consultation with Member States, on strengthening the global health architecture for emergency preparedness, response and resilience.
In doing so, we will take into consideration the preliminary findings of the Working Group on strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies, and recommendations of recent review panels and committees.
You also had an important debate about the sustainable financing of WHO. I welcome your decision to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Sustainable Financing until the World Health Assembly.
I sincerely hope that by working together, we can make substantive progress on this issue.
As I said in my opening remarks on Monday, you are right to expect the highest standards both in what we do, and how we do it.
And as I said yesterday, strengthening our work on preventing and responding to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment remains a top priority for your Secretariat, and for me personally.
Once again, I thank you for your trust in nominating me for appointment as Director-General for a second term.
I look forward to continuing to work with you in the year and years ahead to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.
Thank you so much.