RC67 concludes: “Our message is reaching further and higher”

Video: RC67 highlights

WHO

The 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee holds its final session.

“Our message is reaching further and higher”

These are the words of WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab in her concluding address to the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (RC67). “Health is a political choice,” she added, “and our political leaders are listening, and taking up the call to action.”

This year’s participation of high-level political figures, including 2 prime ministers – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – indicates a strong political commitment to achieving health goals in the WHO European Region.

Leaving no one behind is our call to action

In her opening address on Day 1 of RC67, the Regional Director repeatedly referred to the imperative to “leave no one behind” as one of the key drivers for setting priorities and commitments. Leaving no one behind is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Later at RC67, Dr Jakab introduced a roadmap for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Building on Health 2020, it brings the Region’s priorities forward and provides a common direction, highlighting actions that can accelerate and strengthen the capacities of Member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Member States widely supported the roadmap, and adopted the related resolution.

The beating heart of any health system

This is how Dr Hans Kluge, Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health, described the health workforce during his presentation at RC67. The recognition that effective care and improved health can only be achieved through a sustainable workforce led to the development and adoption of a framework for action for health workforce sustainability.

Member States adopted other critical resolutions on:

  • accelerating the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005);
  • improving access to medicines and fair pricing; and
  • implementing the Declaration of the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health.

Keep the world safe, improve health, serve the vulnerable

Participating in the WHO Regional Committee for Europe for the first time, Dr Tedros, WHO’s newly elected Director-General, presented his vision for WHO’s mission: keep the world safe, improve health and serve the vulnerable. “We are here because we care about the health of the world’s people,” he concluded. “They must be foremost in all our minds this week, and weeks, and months later, and should be our daily thinking.”

This year, 6 short films featuring individuals who have personal experiences of and insights into topics discussed at RC67 – the “Voices of the Region” – introduced key agenda items.

The 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe will take place on 17–20 September 2018 in Rome, Italy.