On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care - as an essential priority for international development then Member states also recognized that the importance of universal coverage in national health systems, especially through primary health-care and social protection mechanisms, to provide access to health services for all, in particular for the poorest segments of the population.

On 25 September 2015, the resolution on Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted the target of 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.

On 12 December 2017, the UN passed a third resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy: addressing the health of the most vulnerable for an inclusive society, which called on Member States to promote and strengthen their dialogue with other stakeholders, including civil society, academia and the private sector, in order to maximize their engagement in and contribution to the implementation of health goals and targets through an intersectoral and multi stakeholder approach.

The UN system, development partners and other relevant initiatives, including UHC2030, provide support to Member States for the development and strengthening of the sustainability of universal health coverage at the national level, with the aim of promoting access to health services for the most vulnerable.

Since 2017, 12 December has been proclaimed by the UN as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).

International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030. The theme for the 2018 UHC Day was: "Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the Time for Collective Action."

In September 2019, at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World,” world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history. In doing so, they committed to ensuring that by 2030 everyone in their country will receive all the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

To promote physical and mental health and well-being, and to extend life expectancy for all, we must achieve universal health coverage and access to quality health care. We must leave no one behind. 

"Strong leadership and community engagement are essential in ensuring that all people get the healthcare they need. On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to a world with health for all."

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (International Universal Health Coverage Day, 12th December 2018)