The World Health Assembly (WHA74) closed on 31 May, having adopted more than 30 resolutions and decisions. Global health emergency preparedness and the need for a stronger framework for preparedness and addressing future health crises were central issues. Norway is encouraged by these first steps on the path towards tangible commitments for improved global health emergency preparedness and response.
Norway is pleased by the decision of member states to reconvene in November 2021 for a special session of the World Health Assembly to consider developing a WHO mechanism (convention, agreement or other international instrument) for pandemic preparedness and response. The recommendations from the various review panels on health emergency preparedness and response were crystal clear: urgent action is needed.
To be better prepared for preventing and responding to new outbreaks of emerging pathogenes, Norway supports continued investigations into the origins of SARS-CoV-2. Norway calls for a timely, transparent, evidence-based and expert-led Phase two study, including in the People’s Republic of China, in accordance with the terms of reference for the WHO-convened global study of the origins of SARS-CoV-2.
For Norway, ensuring WHO's role as the directing and coordinating authority in health emergencies is of utmost importance. Norway calls for a WHO with more predictable and sustainable financing, which in turn will contribute to improved planning and implementation. Whatever member states decide that WHO should do, we must be willing to fund.