World Health Assembly
Limited In-Person Meeting
Assembly President, Director General Tedros, Ministers, and distinguished leaders:
On behalf of the United States of America, I am honored to address this 75th World Health Assembly.
75 years ago, U.S. President Harry Truman called on the United States to join the World Health Organization for a simple reason: The world faced urgent international health challenges. Challenges that knew no borders and that bound us together with a community of purpose.
Today, we gather again with a shared purpose: to promote global health and wellbeing, and to continue our fight against COVID-19.
As the Assembly discusses “Health for Peace, Peace for Health”, we also stand to condemn President Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified aggression against Ukraine, in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations.
Russia’s attacks have destroyed numerous health facilities. Civilians and health workers have been maimed and killed. Disruptions in the global food system are putting millions more already vulnerable at risk of increased poverty and malnutrition.
The international community must and the United States will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine.
The quest for health and peace is not new, but it is enduring.
And under President Biden’s leadership, the United States is continuing this critical work every day.
We are promoting universal health coverage and health equity, including advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, and addressing gender-based violence.
We are working to build more resilient, accessible, equitable health systems to serve our communities’ needs day in and day out. This is one of the reasons why President Biden is hosting the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference and why we are pleased that this Assembly is poised to take the first meaningful steps toward sustainable finance and improved governance of WHO’s budget in many years.
We are working to expand, train, and protect the health workforce, most of whom are women.
We continue to combat climate change. And we will keep working with partners to support global vaccination, testing, and treatment efforts.
The U.S. deeply regrets that Taiwan – a critical partner contributing constructively to global health – has been excluded from attending the Assembly as an observer.
This administration believes in the need for strong global relationships to combat COVID-19 and to prevent and prepare for future health emergencies.
That’s why the U.S. is pleased with the consensus reached this week on concrete action and further work to strengthen existing tools available to the WHO and to all Member States. This includes strengthening the International Health Regulations from 2005 to clarify roles and responsibilities, increase transparency and accountability, share best practices, and communicate in real-time with our global partners.
We are also committed to an Intergovernmental Negotiating Body process that engages external stakeholders and develops an international instrument on pandemics that enables meaningful, inclusive action.
Today, I ask for your support and collaboration as we work together to strengthen the WHO and the capacities of all WHO Member States.
I know we can find common ground because we share common goals, and we look forward to working with all of you in these endeavors.