[WHA68] Statement on Collaboration within the UN

Statement submitted to the 68th World Health Assembly on Item 25: Collaboration within the United Nations system and with other intergovernmental organizations

IFMSA welcomes the document A68/50, underlining some of the important contributions of WHO to the UN, like Ebola outbreak response and its leadership on the UN TaskForce on NCDs.

Nevertheless, IFMSA believes that WHO should assume a stronger leadership role within the UN on intersectorial and transcutting health issues matters.

As stated in its constitution, the WHO must “act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work”. However, we are witnessing several on-going parallel processes being conducted by different international organizations and political unions, without a sufficient coordination with WHO on health issues.

Nevertheless, as IFMSA is involved in the several processes from different international institutions, we often see discussions taking place in parallel ways. That leads to different results and data being produced; and financial and time resources could be managed more efficiently.

2015 is a decisive moment for the involvement of WHO inside the UN system. By actively tackling Goal 3 of the proposed SDGs, WHO can show its role as a policy leading institution and provide support and advice on the implementation and monitoring of this goal and definition of targets and indicators to track progress on health in other relevant thematic areas of SDGs.

We call members states to include health representatives in their national delegations in the UN processes, such as UNFCCC and SDGs – to support the follow-up on the statements and decisions made at WHA. We call member states to evaluate where their resources are invested to maximise the implementation of health related resolutions.

As a federation we have been active in promoting health in processes such as the SDG, OWG, WCDRR and Rio+20. We call upon the WHO and other NGOs to continuing to ensure the voice of the health community is heard in other UN fora.

Finally, IFMSA expresses its commitment to continue to support WHO and any other interested member states in this field.

[WHA68] Statement On Air Pollution

Statement made on May 26th 2015 during the 68th World Health Assembly on Item 14.6: Health and the environment: addressing the health impact of air pollution

IFMSA welcomes the draft resolution on air pollution.

As the doctors of tomorrow, we are deeply concerned about the unhealthy environments in which our future patients are most likely to live in, if no ambitious actions are taken today.

This resolution has the potential of improving health of population around the world.

The time for ambitions is today. As said several times, air pollution is causing one of eight deaths annually around the globe, making it one of the largest killer. If not a strong resolution is adopted today, we are leaving behind seven million people.

The causes of air pollution are also driving climate change, and we welcome references to climate within the resolution.

Stronger connections shall be made with NCDs. Health co-benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, including those with considerations for air quality, can positively tackle the risk factors of NCDs and promote active lifestyles.

We will be facing the consequences of the decisions taken today and the policies that are being implemented. As young people we are hopeful of a greener, healthier future, but we need your political will to make this happen.

If we keep falling behind our mandate, it will be impossible for us to fulfill our responsibilities as health professionals and to protect populations’ health.

We are calling on the healthcare sector lead by example, and adopt a stronger stance of divestment.

A strong resolution on air pollution will be a supportive tool to stimulate actions and considerations for health in upcoming UNFCCC negotiations; as reducing air pollution being one of the main co-benefits to be generated by climate action.

We call for all member states to stand strong behind a resolution on air pollution, to support WHO in it’s work addressing this issue and to take action nationally to create a healthier environment.

[WHA68] Statement on NCDs

Statement made on May 25th 2015 during the 68th World Health Assembly on Item 13.4: Follow-up to the 2014 high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

Honorable chair,
Distinguished delegates,

The IFMSA recognizes the need to tackle, prevent and control the global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and reduce the worldwide morbidity and mortality related to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, as well as reduce the four shared risk factors.

Global trends indicate that NCD-related behaviors are on the rise among young people, and that they establish patterns of behavior that persist throughout life and are often hard to change. We strongly recommend that interventions aimed at reducing the burden of NCDs must include addressing risk factors during childhood and adolescence.

It is essential that the focus on NCDs should be a supplementation, rather than competitor, to communicable diseases mitigation efforts. We urge member states for more horizontal primary care approaches, aiming the strengthening of primary health services, where prevention and treatment of NCDs should be a substantial part. Furthermore, NCDs should be integrated into health-in-all policies as part of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach with intersectoral planning and programming.

Finally, IFMSA commends the efforts of WHO in the implementation of the Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs aiming, to promote an important dialogue to facilitate and enhance the coordination of activities, multi-stakeholder engagement and action across sectors in line with Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020. However, we urge WHO and member states to give more priority to policy coherence across sectors with special attention to trade and investment and improve their engagements in the dialogues proposed by the mechanism.

We recommend governments to ensure that the voices of young people are heard and that promoting increased youth involvement in the global NCDs movement by advocating for youth-oriented NCDs awareness programs in the local, regional and global level.

Thank you.