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Item 15.3: Implementation of the International Health Regulations

Thank you chair

•Norway thanks the Secretariat for the informative report on the status of the ongoing implementation of the IHR (2005)

•We support WHO in reminding all countries to adhere to the obligations of the regulations, and especially reminding them not to implement excessive restrictive measures influencing international travel and trade. Unfortunately there are currently no enforcement measures in the IHR (2005).

•WHO offers a variety of tools that support implementation of the IHR. Norway welcomes the prospect of new approaches to assessing the IHR core capacities. We should advance beyond simple “implementation checklists” to a more action-oriented approach using a combination of self-assessment, peer-review and external evaluations of core capacities, as recommended by the IHR Review Committee.

•Sustainable implementation of IHR (2005) is the responsibility of country governments and can only be achieved through long term commitment to build resilient health systems, including investment in infrastructure, capacity, human resources and commodities.

•Article 44 of the IHR states that States Parties shall collaborate with each other to ensure the core capacities are in place. Norway supports the Secretariat’s establishment of a country-twinning program to facilitate the exchange of best practices, and is currently engaged in supporting implementation of IHR in Palestine and Malawi. Also, we are currently identifying four other low- and middle-income countries for collaboration on these topics.

•We also support the Global Health Security Agenda, an initiative among many countries, including Norway, to develop and undertake specific actions to strengthen national, regional, and global ability to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious diseases. Norway is engaged in an action package on supporting implementation of IHR.

•It is important to stress that these types of initiatives should be consistent with the principles of the International Health Regulations and should reinforce WHO’s efforts to improve the core capacities.

•There is a win-win potential of working together on infectious disease control. Such investments will hopefully have a sustainable impact both for the health of populations on a daily basis, and for mitigating serious consequences of outbreaks both nationally and globally.