Governments Set to Adopt World’s First Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage
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UN Member States have raised no further objections to the draft political declaration on universal health coverage, setting the stage for its adoption at the high-level meeting on UHC on 23 September.

Adoption of the declaration will reaffirm countries’ commitment to achieving SDG target 3.8 on achieving UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

13 September 2019: UN Member States have raised no further objections to the draft political declaration on universal health coverage (UHC), thus setting the stage for its adoption at an upcoming high-level meeting on UHC. The text reaffirms countries’ commitment to achieving SDG target 3.8 on achieving UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.


The UN General Assembly (UNGA) will hold the high-level meeting on UHC in New York, US, on 23 September 2019, one of several interconnected, high-level gatherings during that week. In a letter to Member States on 13 September, UNGA President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés advised that the three-day silence procedure – a final step toward consensus on the draft text – was unbroken.

The negotiation process toward the high-level meeting on UHC was co-facilitated by Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia, and Vitavas Srivihok, Permanent Representative of Thailand. Negotiations previously struck points of contention on: ensuring access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, and reproductive rights; mainstreaming a gender perspective into health policies; leaving no one behind; and the needs of refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons and indigenous peoples.

The current draft, conveyed in Espinosa’s 10 September letter announcing the start of the silence procedure, removes a reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and maintains SDG language committing to ensure, by 2030, universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services. The text reaffirms the primary role and responsibility of governments to determine their own path towards achieving UHC. Her letter notes that the text, once adopted, will be the world’s first-ever political declaration on UHC.

The global campaign around UHC dates from 2007, when IHP+, an international partnership to improve development cooperation in health to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was formed. In 2016, the campaign became known as UHC2030, in support of the health-related SDGs. Its scope expanded to include strengthening of health systems to achieve UHC. [Letter of UNGA President on Draft Agreement]


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