Indira Paharia presented this statement to the WHO’s 69th World Health Assembly on 24 May 2016.
Thank you Mr. Chair, honorable ministers, and delegates,
Achieving the health goals in the Sustainable Development Agenda requires acting through the right to health.
The right demands non-discrimination – whether against indigenous populations or refugees and undocumented migrants – without which there can be no universal health coverage. It entails maximal domestic financing efforts towards health and other rights, with genuine international cooperation, the only way to ensure robust universal health coverage for all people, everywhere. The right emphasizes ensuring health services for marginalized populations, with measures from equitable distribution of health services and financing to proactive strategies to ensure their full access, inclusion, and empowerment. The right insists that health is respected in all spheres, such as narcotics and trade, the only way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals target on medicines for all, and in criminal justice systems, so that they that take domestic violence seriously while recognizing that drug addiction requires a public health and not a criminal response. And the right requires robust, participatory, and independent accountability mechanisms at all levels.
To infuse the right to health through the SDGs, we urge states to seriously consider the proposed Framework Convention on Global Health, which would help secure the SDGs in these ways and more, while advancing sustained individual and global health security and ensuring the prominence of health on the global agenda.