Photograph of the high level opening sessionPhoto: Cabinet Public Relations Office
Photograph of the Prime Minister giving a speechPhoto: Cabinet Public Relations Office
On December 13 and 14, 2017, an international conference titled “UHC Forum 2017”was held at Tokyo Prince Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UHC2030, the Japan International Cooeration Agency(JICA).
This conference, attended by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, brought together high and senior level officials from the governments of various countries, representatives of the international organizations and experts in one location to actively discuss on how to promote universal health coverage (UHC) internationally.
Based on the discussions at the conference, “UHC Tokyo Declaration” (English(PDF) / Japanese (PDF)) was adopted as the commitment to acceralate the efforts towards achieving UHC by 2030 by the co-organisers of the forum.
In the high level opening session on December 14, Prime Minister Abe mentioned that Japan has been taking up health as its priority issue and keeping its efforts to implement projects towards the achievement of UHC together with the international community, through the opportunities such as the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and TICAD VI in 2016. He also emphasized that, to acceralate the promotion of UHC, it is crusial to enhance the momentum at the global level towards UHC, promote the coordination among the national governments and donors at the country level, advance the continuous monitoring and evalutation, mobilize resources inside and outside of the country, and promote innovation. Building on these perspectives, Prime Minister Abe further announced that Japan will provide assistance amounting to approximately 2.9 billion dollars in the coming years to push forward the efforts towards UHC by countries and organizations.
In the same session, strong commitments to enhance activities towards UHC were expressed by each prominent participant including H.E. Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal; H.E. Mr. Htin Kyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; H. E. Mr. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Mr. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF；Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka, President of JICA; Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, President of World Medical Association(WMA), President of Japan Medical Association towards promoting UHC.
Also in the closing session held on the 14th, Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan explained the overview of the “UHC Tokyo Declaration,”and emphasized that the achievement of UHC leads to improving poverty situation through the redistribution of income and ensuring equity in the society, which ultimately contributes to peace and prosperity of each country of the world, as well as to enhance preparedness against health crises. In the end of the session, Mr. Taro Aso, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Japan, made a closing remarks, highlighting that the involvement of each country’s finance minister is essential to secure the finantial recources towards UHC, while it is essential to utilize the international assistance in an effective manner, mobilized through innovative development finance from public and private sector.
Furthermore, in the public event held in the evening of 14th, Mr. Kazuyuki Nakane, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, extended an opening remarks, expressing gratitude for the participating governments, international organizations, development partners and CSOs for their efforts to promote UHC, and Japan’s commitment to support those efforts.
On December 13 at the UHC Forum Experts’Meeting, the global situation and progress of UHC and the measures against public health emergencies, as well as various international initiatives related to UHC were introduced to the participants. Besides, thematic breakout sessions were held on strengthening of health systems and health workers, financing for UHC, access to medicine, and health needs in the aging society, all of which are the important challenges to achieve UHC. Minister Kato addressed that towards the sustainable development, it is necessary to strengthen health sysytems themselves while ensuring financial sustainability, and he also introduced Japan’s expertise and experiences towards realizing UHC. In addition, on the 14th , there were vibrant and robust exchanges of views among the participants regarding the policies, methods and measures for achievning UHC by 2030,introduction of good practices from participating countries, and the roles of the development organizations.