26 September 2023

As UHC2030 co-chairs, we welcome the approval of the Political Declaration by member states at the opening of the UN high-level meeting on universal health coverage: expanding our ambition for health and well-being in a post-COVID world on 21 September.

Photo of the UHC HLM

A high-level meeting such as this represents an important moment for world leaders to recommit to this critical agenda, and we thank in particular the co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Thailand and Guyana, for their strong efforts which have brought us to this point.

We recognize that governments alone cannot deliver health for all: a whole-of-society approach and multistakeholder cooperation are critical. This is why we particularly welcome the reference in the Political Declaration to institutionalising social participation for meaningful engagement and representation of all stakeholders in decision-making processes.

Considering that 4.5 billion people do not have access to health services and that 2 billion people face financial hardship in doing so, we are also pleased to see a reaffirmation of the commitment to gender equality and an emphasis on vulnerable groups in the text, as well as the need to address the shortage in the health and care workeforce globally and to provide decent working conditions for health and care workers, the majority of which are female. There is considerable emphasis on UHC driven by primary health care, and this is critical not just for a people-centred approach, but also for effective health emergency prevention, preparedness and response.

We also recognize that the outcome of a high-level meeting alone is not enough to deliver on our commitments to protect and improve rights and access to health services for all, especially girls, women, sexual and gender diverse people and many other groups in vulnerable circumstances. What matters now is what we will do to make real work happen in countries, with a focus on implementation and accountability, so that the right to health becomes a reality for everyone, everywhere.

Implementation is a national responsibility, with each country facing its own reality. What matters is political will, and commitment to turn global commitments into local action, with clear strategies, targets and timelines.

More important than recommitment is action. This is why UHC2030 developed the Action Agenda from the UHC Movement, which provides a blueprint for all countries on implementation in areas that cannot be neglected.

Let’s all use the Political Declaration and the political momentum the high-level meeting has generated to hold our governments accountable for taking action on their commitments. The health and well-being of billions of people depends on concrete, ambitious actions.

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