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Item 8.7 Promoting the health of migrants

Statement by Norway at # EB140 // 31.01.2017

Item 8.7 Promoting the health of migrants

We are strongly supportive of WHO’s active participation in the global compacts processes, which should take place in close collaboration with other stakeholders, especially UNHCR and IOM. We are very appreciative of the important work being done by the core group of the resolution, especially Argentina and Italy, and believe it would be useful for the EB and member states generally to provide WHO with a strong message of support for this important work. However, we would also caution against using that exercise to constrain or limit WHOs global mandate to participate in all relevant global processes in order to promote the aim of public health. In our view, the constitution provides WHO with a clear mandate to participate fully in processes such as the global compacts, on par with other UN organizations, and we should not approach member state guidance as a prerequisite for acting on this mandate. In this respect, we think paragraph 2 of the draft decision leaves something to be desired in terms of acknowledging that mandate. We support the call for a GAP, and consider that this plan needs to be presented to the 72nd WHA, not the 71st. We will remain engaged in the further discussion on guiding principles, which in our opinion should aim at enabling WHOs work in this critical field, but we also take the view that that process should not delay or weaken WHOs engagement in the compacts processes from the beginning. That engagement should be based on WHOs constitutional mandate, on the NY declaration and on the modalities of the compacts processes. Finally chair, we should all be conscious that our member state negotiations here and at the Assembly will have an effect on the perception of the organization. To be effective and deliver on its mandate, WHO needs to be seen as a predictable, objective and constructive participant in global processes. If member state negotiations to provide guidance is allowed to become a vehicle for the pursuit of other political aims, or is used as an opportunity to prejudge issues that properly belong in the compacts, we will ultimately weaken this organization, and hence the health aspect of the Global compacts.