69th World Health Assembly opens in Geneva with Margaret Chan’s words of celebration, warning and hope
On 23 May 2016, the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly was opened in Geneva, Switzerland, by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan. She called for the celebration of stunning health achievements but also warned that health challenges have grown widespread and are becoming more complex.
Around 3,500 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States – including a large proportion of the world’s health ministers – are attending the Health Assembly, which ends on 28 May. The first plenary discussion, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” began with a discussion on WHO reform.
A wide range of agenda items of the World Health Assembly include decisions relating to WHO’s response to health emergencies and the International Health Regulations. They also include noncommunicable diseases and factors that can put people at risk of these diseases – or reduce their level of risk.
Important decisions will be made relating to childhood obesity and maternal, child and young child nutrition, as well as air pollution, tobacco control, violence and road safety. During the opening address, Margaret Chan highlighted that the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, especially to children, is now a global phenomenon and that ensuring the quality of the food supply is now much harder when a single meal can contain ingredients from all around the world.
Developing on progress made at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in 2015, nutrition relevant provisional items on the agenda at the Health Assembly include:
- 12.1 Maternal, infant and young child nutrition, Document A69/7, with reference to:
- Progress made in carrying out the comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition and the Global Nutrition Targets
- Progress in implementing the international code of marketing of breast-milk substitutes
- Risk assessment and risk management tools on conflict of interest in nutrition programmes
- A resolution considered for endorsement on the proposed Guidance on Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children Document A69/7 Add.1. If endorsed, the resolution would encourage countries to enact legislation against inappropriate promotion of commercially produced complementary foods for children from the age of 6-36 months while still allowing promotion of complementary foods that meet standards for composition, safety, quality and nutrient level.
- 12.1 The United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025), Document A69/7 Add.2
- 12.2 Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, Document A69/8
- 12.4 Prevention and control of non communicable diseases: responses to specific assignments in preparation for the third High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in 2018, Documents A69/10 and EB138/2016/REC/1, resolution EB138.R4
- 13.2 Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Documents A69/15 and EB138/2016/REC/1, resolution EB138.R5
- 13.3 Operational plan to take forward the Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, Document A69/16
Visit the World Health Organization for the full agenda and journals (daily programme of meetings, technical briefings, and side events, with reports of previous meetings.