Universal Health Coverage
The President of the General Assembly will convene a one-day high-level meeting on universal health coverage at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 23 September 2019, a day before the start of the general debate of the Assembly at its seventy-fourth session.
The Modalities Resolution for the UN HLM on UHC outlines the agenda, which includes:
- An opening segment from 9:00 to 9:30, featuring statements by the 74th President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the Director General of the World Health Organization, the President of the World Bank Group, and an eminent high-level champion of UHC;
- A plenary segment from 10:30 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:30, where Heads of State will deliver their statements;
- Two multi-stakeholder panels from 11:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:00, held in parallel to the plenary segment;
- A closing segment from 17:30 to 18:00.
Each of the two multi-stakeholder panels will be co-chaired by two representatives, one from a developed country and one from a developing country, to be appointed by the President of the General Assembly from among the Heads of State or Government attending the high-level meeting, in consultation with Member States, taking into account gender equity, level of development and geographical representation.
Interactive Multi-stakeholder Hearing
The President of the General Assembly, with the support of the World Health Organization and UHC2030, held an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing on 29 April 2019 in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations in New York, as part of the preparatory process for UN HLM.
The hearing aimed to engage the active participation of appropriate senior-level representatives of Member States, observers of the General Assembly, parliamentarians, representatives of local government, relevant United Nations entities, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, invited civil society organizations, philanthropic foundations, academia, medical associations, the private sector and broader communities, ensuring the participation and voices of women, children, youth and indigenous leadership as part of the preparatory process. It provided a unique opportunity to mobilize voices from a broad range of multi-sectoral stakeholders.
Participants were encouraged to exchange views on key priorities to raise with Heads of States during the HLM, while underscoring experiences and best practices on the ground, highlighting the special challenges faced by civil society organizations, private sector and other stakeholders.
In accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 72/139 and 73/131, a high-level meeting (UN HLM) on universal health coverage (UHC) will be convened on 23 September 2019 with the overall theme: Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World.
As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A/RES/70/1), all countries have committed to try to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
UHC means that all people and communities receive the quality health services they need, without financial hardship. Key barriers to UHC achievement include poor infrastructures and availability of basic amenities, out of pocket payments and catastrophic expenditures, shortages and maldistribution of qualified health workers, prohibitively expensive good quality medicines and medical products, low access to digital health and innovative technologies, among others.
Each of these barriers has solutions that not only lead to UHC but also boost the economy and have an important impact on other SDGs. For example, Goal 1 (end poverty), Goal 4 (quality education), Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), Goal 9 (infrastructure), Goal 10 (reduce inequality), Goal 16 (justice and peace), and Goal 17 (partnerships). UHC is a catalyst for socio-economic development and a key contributor to equity, social justice and inclusive economic growth. UHC delivers on the human right to health as well as the broader human rights agenda.
Primary health care (PHC) is the foundation for UHC. PHC oriented health systems provide quality services that are comprehensive, continuous, coordinated and people-centered. With these characteristics along with its emphasis on prevention and promotion, PHC reduces inequities in health, and is highly effective and efficient, particularly for the management of chronic conditions such as non-communicable diseases, including mental health.
The High-level meeting is an opportunity to secure political commitment from Heads of State and Government to prioritize universal health coverage (UHC). The Political Declaration will form the basis for global efforts to provide universal access to affordable and quality health care services, in line with SDG target 3.8.
This commitment will coordinate a global response, recognizing the primary responsibility of governments to urgently and significantly scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards UHC, and that effective and financially sustainable implementation of universal health coverage is based on a resilient and responsive health system.
Member States are encouraged to participate at the highest possible level, preferably at the level of Heads of State and Government. Observers of the General Assembly and other stakeholders should also be represented at the highest possible level.
Further, the UNHLM presents an opportunity to move health discussions beyond the sole domain of Health Ministries and to engage other sectors, such as Ministries of Finance, for coordinated action.
Moreover, civil society organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC and those approved for special- accreditation are also invited to attend.
- An opening segment from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., featuring statements by the 74th President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the Director General of the World Health Organization, the President of the World Bank Group, and an eminent high-level champion of UHC
- A plenary segment from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., where Heads of State will deliver their statements,
- Two consecutive multi-stakeholder panels from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the other from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and
- Closing segment from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The one day high-level meeting will endorse the Political Declaration at the highest level, and will be an opportunity to build on previous high-level meetings and initiatives to reaffirm the global political commitment to achieving universal health coverage. The meeting will position universal health coverage at the core of achieving SDG 3 and the broader Sustainable Development Goals.
The themes of the multi-stakeholder panels will take into consideration the direction and outcomes of other preceding health processes and initiatives, as well as the interactive multi-stakeholder hearing, with a view to ensuring the most effective and efficient outcomes and potential deliverables and to sharing experiences and lessons learned to address remaining implementation gaps.
Panel 1 will be focused on UHC as a driver of equity, inclusive development and prosperity for all and Panel 2 on accelerating Multi-sectoral and Multi-Stakeholder Action and Investments for achieving UHC.
Letter informing that the silence procedure has not been broken on the draft resolution on the scope, modalities, format and
organization of the high-level meeting on universal health coverage [11 July 2018]
Draft decision of the General Assembly to transmit the draft resolution on the scope, modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting on universal health coverage to the seventy-third session of the General Assembly for action [13 July 2018]
List of non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the private sector, which are not in consultative status with ECOSOC and have been approved to attend the High Level meeting on Universal Health Coverage and participate in the interactive multi-stakeholder hearing and the multi-stakeholder panels [27 March 2019]
Letter from the Co-facilitators of the intergovernmental consultations on the political declaration to be approved at the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage, circulating the zero draft of the Political Declaration, which will be presented to Member States on 21 May 2019 [17 May 2019]