Health and Medical Care

June 2, 2021

1. Schedule and participants

  • The WHA74 commenced on 24 May 2021 and concluded its sessions on 31 May 2021. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the event was held virtually.
  • Participants include leaders and health ministers including the heads of state from France, Germany, South Africa, Spain as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other international organizations.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies on a specific health agenda. The Health Assembly is held annually in May.

2. Government representative speech

On May 25th, Mr. TAMURA Norihisa, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare delivered a speech on behalf of the government of Japan.

3. Main Discussion

  • ⑴ WHO Review and Reform
    The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), the Review Committee on the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 response and the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Program (IOAC) have presented a final report on the WHO and Member States’ response to COVID-19.
    The resolution on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies, which Japan co-sponsored, was approved. The resolution includes the need for early information sharing from Member States to WHO, the creation of an objective monitoring and evaluation framework that enables accurate assessment on national capacities, the importance of achieving universal health coverage, and the need to improve the PHEIC declaration process. It also encourages developing guidance on situations that may occur in the context of international conveyances during public health emergencies, such as outbreaks on international cruise ships.
    The resolution decided to establish a Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies, which will submit a report with proposed actions to the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly in 2022.
  • ⑵ COVID-19 Origins Study
    Japan believes that a rapid, independent, expert-led, transparent evaluation of the origins is critical to prevent future pandemics, and expressed that it was important further comprehensive studies would lead to identify the origins of COVID-19.
  • ⑶ Participation of Taiwan to the World Health Assembly as an observer
    Japan emphasized that we should refer to good examples such as Taiwan, which successfully tackled COVID-19 in terms of public health response, and that we should not make any geographical vacuums, which are created by leaving specific regions behind, in addressing global health issues such as infectious control. This will serve the purpose of preventing the spread of infection worldwide.
  • ⑷ Consideration on a Pandemic treaty
    The Assembly decided the Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies to assess the benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international on pandemic preparedness and response. It also decided that the special session of World Health Assembly would be held from November 29th to December 1st 2021 to only to consider this item.

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