70th World Health Assembly in Geneva

May 15, 2017

66th. World Healt Assembly Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) From May 22 to 31, 2017, more than 3,500 health experts - delegates from the 194 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO), including more than 130 health ministers, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations will attend the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. They will discuss 81 agenda items, negotiate numerous resolutions on health topics, and adopt a program budget for the WHO for the biennium 2018 / 2019. This year the official meetings will be complemented once again by more than 100 side events in and around the Palais des Nations.

The WHO is the largest multilateral organization in the field of global health policy. It plays a key role in coordinating the global response to pandemics and other health emergencies, in the area of health systems strengthening and in preventing and tackling all major health policy issues (e.g. antibiotic resistances). The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of the WHO.

Gesundheitsminister Hermann Gröhe Enlarge image (© BMG)

The German delegation is led by Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe. In his address to the plenary of the Health Assembly, he will also present the results of the G20 health ministers’ meeting, which will take place in Berlin on May 19 and 20, just prior to the World Health Assembly. The topic of this year’s general debate will be "The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Building Better Systems for Health". In cooperation with numerous partner countries, the WHO and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as with the World Bank, Germany will accordingly organize an official side event on the importance of partnerships in health systems strengthening.

Election of a new WHO Director General

This year's World Health Assembly is dominated by the highly anticipated election of a new head of the World Health Organization. Director-General Margaret Chan will resign on July 1, 2017 after ten years in office. Sania Nishtar from Pakistan as well as David Nabarro from Great Britain and Tedros Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia are running for the office of WHO DG. During a long and transparent election campaign, the three candidates have repeatedly responded to questions from WHO Member States and the general public. The new WHO leadership will face considerable challenges, such as the creation of efficient structures for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the question of securing more sustainable and widespread funding for the organization and the management of the discontinuation of the polio program and the polio related assets.

G20 health priorities in Geneva

The priorities of the German G20 presidency in the area of global health policy are well reflected in the agenda of the 70th World Health Assembly. On the eve of the assembly, the first ever G20 health ministers’ meeting will take place in Berlin. One goal of this meeting is to further improve the global health crisis management, in this context the G20 health ministers will participate in a health crisis simulation exercise. Other G20 health priorities include the prevention of future crises through health systems strengthening and the global fight against antibiotic resistance.


WHA 70 :

Health ministers’ meeting under the G20 presidency

© StV-G.Sch.