Norway presents its WHO strategy

Norway has a seat on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) from May 2010 to May 2013. In connection with this, the Norwegian Government has developed a WHO strategy.

“Our membership of the WHO Executive Board gives us the opportunity to exert an influence and to take our share of responsibility for strengthening WHO and helping it to achieve its objectives. We intend to use our board membership to promote WHO’s role as the leading normative organization for global health,” said Minister of Health and Care Services Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.

Norway’s efforts in WHO are to be based on important principles such as respect for human rights, democracy and gender equality. The fight against poverty is a key factor in this respect. The strategy sets out overall objectives and priorities for Norway’s engagement and provides the basis for a clear, coherent Norwegian WHO policy. The overall objectives of Norway’s efforts will be to:

- Fight poverty by helping to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals
- Support and promote the right to health services
- Help to reduce the great social inequalities in the world
- Help to reduce the burden of disease
- Promote women’s rights and gender equality

“A strong WHO with a clear mandate and the necessary and authority and legitimacy to fulfil it is in the interests of all the member states,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The strategy establishes five priorities. During its term of office Norway will seek in particular to:

- Improve WHO’s budget and management
- Promote global health research as the basis for knowledge-based policy
- Strengthen health systems, including access to health personnel
- Intensify efforts to combat non-communicable diseases
- Intensify efforts to combat communicable diseases and improve health security

“We know that poor health is just as much a cause of poverty as a consequence of poverty, and we are aware of the links between access to health services, good health and prosperity. We can achieve equity and good health for all, but in order to do so we will have to focus on improving health systems and primary health care services,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

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