World Health Assembly Day 9: Assembly closes after 9 days covering 78 agenda items


Dr Margaret Chan delivers her closing address at the Seventieth World Health Assembly.

Member States adopted numerous decisions and plans on a wide range of public health issues during the Seventieth World Health Assembly, which closed on 31 May 2017. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as the new Director-General of WHO, and will begin his 5-year term on 1 July 2017.

In her closing address, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said, “This has been a momentous World Health Assembly. We have seen a record number of interventions. More than 80 delegations took the floor to speak about health emergencies, and nearly as many spoke during the item on polio eradication.” After 1 July, Dr Chan will take on the title of Director-General Emeritus.

Around 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States came together for 9 days to discuss an unprecedented 78 agenda items. This resulted in the adoption of 19 resolutions and 14 decisions on issues including vaccination, refugees and migrants, vector control, and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Delegates also approved WHO’s programme budget of US$ 4.4 billion for 2018–19.

Highlights for the WHO European Region

Committee A: Progress reports continued

On Wednesday morning, Committee A continued discussions about progress reports on issues including NCDs, the promotion of health throughout the life-course and health systems. Norway made an intervention related to the progress report “Addressing the challenges of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020)”, encouraging all Member States to strengthen their work in this area. Norway also pointed to the links between this topic and the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

Italy took the stand to comment on the report “Towards universal eye health: a global action plan 2014–2019”. It stressed that advocacy and capacity-building are critical to getting positive results in this area, and noted that technical assistance to countries is particularly important for capacity-building.

Committee B: Final meeting

Committee B also concluded its work on Wednesday, adopting decisions and resolutions related to childhood obesity, cancer prevention and control, deafness and hearing loss, and strengthening synergies between the World Health Assembly and the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It also focused on preparations for the 3rd High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, to be held in 2018.