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 preparations leading to UH HLM, the President of the General Assembly (PGA) was requested to convene, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Partnership for UHC 2030 (UHC2030), an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing (Hearing) to ensure the inclusive, active and substantive engagement of multi-stakeholders in the process (A/RES 73/131).
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 purpose of the Hearing is to benefit from the perspectives of all stakeholders, on urgent actions and investments for UHC, and to provide a key opportunity to identify how the UHC political declaration (i.e. outcome document of UN HLM) can add value to the current UHC movement and set a concrete milestone to accelerate progress towards achievement of UHC by 2030.
The Hearing will bring together representatives of the Member States, observers of the General Assembly, parliamentarians, representative of local government, relevant UN entities, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, professional associations and the private sector and broader communities. This includes ensuring the participation and voices of women, children, youth and indigenous leadership.
The one-day interactive Hearing will be divided into:
- An opening segment
- Three interactive panel discussions. Each panel will feature up to four speakers, including representatives of multi-stakeholder constituencies with diverse Sessions will include statements from panelists, stories from the field related to the theme of the session, audience polling on specific questions and facilitated discussions with the panelists to answer questions raised from the floor. At the end of the session, moderators will wrap up and summarize key points. Priority of interventions from the floor (approximately 15-20 interventions per session) will be given to joint statements of global, regional or country constituencies of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, philanthropic foundations, health professional associations and the private sector. Other written interventions will be posted on WHO and/or UHC2030 webpage as needed.
- A closing segment.
The outcome will be a summary prepared by the President of the General Assembly. It will be circulated to all Member States and other stakeholders.
The thematic areas and sub-topics are:
- UHC as a driver for inclusive development and prosperity
- Contextualizing the achievement of UHC within the broader development agenda.
- Emphasizing the importance of UHC as an umbrella for health, and a contributor to social justice and inclusive economic growth.
- Recognizing that advancing UHC delivers on the human right to health as well as the broader human rights agenda.
- Leave No One Behind – UHC as a commitment to equity
- Social accountability for UHC and aligning investments to needs.
- Addressing the determinants of health and reaching every person and community with quality integrated and person-centered PHC.
- Improving monitoring and feedback mechanisms to hold leaders accountable to promises of health for all and progress toward stronger, more equitable health systems.
- Multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder actions and investments for UHC
- Uniting all health actors and initiatives firmly behind our commitment to UHC.
- Ensuring that all people, regardless of race, gender, age, citizenship or ability, are represented in the movement for UHC.
- Building cross-sectoral mechanisms for coordinated actions and investments for UHC.
- Strengthening capacity of local authorities to engage communities and implement actions for UHC.
- Mobilizing more domestic resources, harmonizing investment in health, using resources equitably and efficiently, and optimizing resources from different sectors and actors for 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]