26 May 2023

Now is the time to move from commitment to action

UN HLM 2023 umbrella logo

On 24 May, 2023 the Office of the President of the General Assembly (PGA) presented the zero draft of the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). We welcome the opportunity to build on the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC, the greater emphasis on primary health care, health and care workers, and the link made between health emergency preparedness and response and universal health coverage as two intertwined goals achieved through the same health system.

We also welcome the emphasis on monitoring, accountability, and multi-stakeholder engagement, particularly on promoting and institutionalizing participatory, inclusive health governance for universal health coverage and the need for countries to set measurable national targets and strengthen national monitoring and evaluation platforms.

In March 2023, ahead of the important multi-stakeholder hearings on health, the UHC movement published an Action Agenda, titled “From Commitment to Action”. The Action Agenda is a set of eight concrete action-oriented policy recommendations that country leaders should implement to strengthen resilient and equitable health systems, advance universal health coverage and health security, and deliver health for all by 2030. The Action Agenda aims to support all countries move from comprehensive political commitments made in 2019 to actionable, well-funded implementation that realizes the health of all people by 2030.  

As Co-chairs of UHC2030, we call on all countries during the political declaration negotiations to demonstrate political leadership and ensure that the political declaration is concise, action-oriented, and people-centered. We call on leaders to commit to reinvigorate progress towards UHC with concrete, ambitious actions that will strengthen health systems to achieve health for everyone, everywhere. We have no time to lose, and business as usual is not an option. With half of the world’s population still lacking access to essential health services – and estimated to continue to lack access by 2030 on current trends, and 70 million people fall into poverty every year because of health care costs, we cannot repeat past commitments. We must move from commitment to action.

We call on all countries, stakeholders and advocates to use the UHC Action Agenda and the PGA summary of the multi-stakeholder hearing on UHC during the negotiation process, to  ensure that the voices of all stakeholders are reflected and ultimately result in a strong, action-oriented, people-centered final political declaration that reinvigorates urgently needed progress on ensuring health for all by 2030 can become a reality, for everyone, everywhere.

This is critical to ensure that the UN HLM delivers meaningful accountability and actions that respond to their needs of under-served population and groups who are most of risk at being left behind, including women and girls.

On 21 September 2023, at the High-Level Meeting on UHC during the 78th United Nations General Assembly, Member States will agree on the final 2023 Political Declaration on UHC.

Watch Dr Justin Koonin's response here: 

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