General Assembly Briefing on Health Issues

As delivered

Statement of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered by the Vice-President, H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan Ataeva, Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the Untied Nations at General Assembly Briefing on Health Issues

4 May 2017



I have the honour to deliver the following statement on behalf of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson, who unfortunately cannot be here today due to commitments overseas.



Ladies and Gentlemen,


Welcome to today’s briefing. I would like to thank the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and other global health experts for making themselves available to participate in this briefing.


Today’s briefing follows two key meetings of experts held in New York earlier this week – first, a meeting of the Secretary-General’s Health Crises Task Force; and second, the inaugural meeting of Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.


Today we are gathered to enable Member States to hear an update from these experts on a range of global health issues, including recent progress to strengthen international health systems, improve health emergency responses, counter growing anti-microbial resistance, and to ensure universal access to healthcare, including for migrants.


Our gathering will also provide a follow-up to the Secretary-General’s Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, as well as updates on preparations for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in July, arrangements for the 2018 High-Level Meeting on the Fight Against Tuberculosis, and the 2018 Comprehensive Review on progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.


Each of these issues is of particular relevance to our efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all is not only a goal in itself under the 2030 Agenda, but a cross-cutting precondition to achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


Indeed, as we have seen around our world, where good health and well-being prevails, the benefits extend far beyond individuals, to strengthening development outcomes for entire families and communities. This includes by reducing poverty, improving access to education, strengthening workforce participation rates, and driving social and economic progress in our societies.


Sadly, we find that where health outcomes are weaker or undermined by crises, hard-won development gains can be quickly reversed – hindering socio-economic development, straining social cohesion, and potentially threatening national and regional security.


The need therefore to improve global capacities to deal with health crises, and to strengthen coordination and policy coherence in responding to global health challenges, is clear.


And it is in this context that briefings like today’s are so important – to improve international awareness and understanding of global health developments; to accelerate our efforts to achieve universal health coverage; and to secure our ultimate aim of effectively implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


I thank you.

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