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Global Action Plan

STATEMENT by H.E. Mr. Bent Høie, The Norwegian Minister of Health, during the technical briefing on the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well Being for All on May 20th 2019 at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

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Thank you to the WHO for taking the initiative to hold this technical meeting on the “Global Action Plan for healthy lives and well being” for all during the World Health Assembly.

The Global Acton plan for healthy lives and well-being for all, is a great example on how countries and agencies can work together to accelerate the progress on the over 50 health related SDG targets. An important element of the plan is taking stock of where we are. Not surprisingly, some of the biggest gaps between our ambitions and the current status are on the targets that require action across sectors. Health and investment in health, is a fundamental part of the 2030-agenda. Healthy lives and well-being for all is highly interlinked between several of the SDGs, and is essential for further development.

Despite great progress, the uncomfortable truth is that far too many die, and especially women and children, every year due to causes that are preventable. Tens of millions of people still lack access to basic health services or life-saving medicine.
In order to make the necessary great leap forward we need to acknowledge the intersectionality of all the SDGs, and that progress on one goal will create progress on others.

Health is perhaps the clearest example, and we need to keep investing in access to universal health coverage. Improving both access and quality of health services has a direct impact on poverty reduction, gender inequality, education, and the list goes on.

The global action plan addresses these interlinkages in a clear way. But it will only succeed if countries take ownership in its implementation. This of course means increasing domestic resources to invest in access to health. This is also key in the Bloomberg –Summers Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health, which I am a member of. Examining the evidence on excise tax policy for health, including barriers to implementation, and making recommendations on how countries can best leverage fiscal policies to yield improved health outcomes for their citizens is an integral part of this work.

Health is the building block of any well-functioning society. But, it will take time and we need to work together now. We still have the opportunity to make sure that we reach the goals in the 2030-Agenda and this is why Norway stands fully behind the Global Action plan.

Thank you.