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A round up of activity from the 140th session of the Executive Board

08 Feb 2017

n recognition of our leading position in cardiovascular health, the World Heart Federation was invited to participate in the 140th World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board. We gathered a large delegation of Member Partners, members, Board and staff to advocate for improved CVD prevention and control measures at the meeting.


Addition of rheumatic heart disease to the agenda of the 141st Executive Board Meeting

During the very first session of EB 140, the Chairman announced that rheumatic heart disease (RHD) will be included as an Agenda Item at the next Executive Board Meeting (‘EB 141’) in June 2017.

The Executive Board made this decision following extensive advocacy by the RHD community for a coordinated global response to RHD. We have been supporting a diverse group of Member States, led by the government of New Zealand, to boost political will and stimulate work towards a global RHD Resolution.

Following the announcement, all Member States will convene to debate RHD as an Agenda Item at the 141st Executive Board Meeting from 01-02 June 2017. Discussions are set to revolve around the adoption of a Draft Resolution on RHD. We hope that, following the discussions, the Draft Resolution will be adopted, and WHO mandated to address RHD on a global scale.

Nomination of candidates for the position of WHO Director-General
Members of the Executive Board voted to select a shortlist of three candidates for the position of WHO Director-General. The final three candidates – Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Pakistan’s Sania Nishtar and Britain’s David Nabarro – will be considered by the World Health Assembly in May and a final candidate will be selected. The new Director-General will assume the post in July 2017, taking over from Dr Margaret Chan, who has served in the role for ten years.

Addition of physical activity to the agenda of the 142nd Executive Board Meeting
Member States agreed to consider Revitalizing physical activity as an Agenda Item at EB142, following a proposal by Thailand for the topic to be discussed during the current session of the EB. The WHO Secretariat will prepare an action plan on physical activity for Member States to consider at EB142, which will be held in January 2018.

Addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines

The Executive Board noted the Secretariat’s report and WHO will now consult with countries on definitions suggested in the report. Work on two resolutions agreed at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2016 is ongoing, with the WHO DG requested to report on progress and outcomes of both of two resolutions at WHA71 in 2018: addressing the global problem of medicine and vaccine shortages and promoting innovation and access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medicines for children.

Promoting the health of refugees and migrants
Following lengthy discussions, Member States adopted a draft resolution on Promoting the Health of Refugees and Migrants. The resolution asks WHO to set out priorities and guiding principles on this urgent health issue at the next World Health Assembly (WHA) and calls for a draft global action plan on the health of refugees and migrants to be adopted at the 72nd WHA in 2019.

Preparation for the third High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2018
Member States recommended that the 70th World Health Assembly adopt a resolution on Agenda Item 10.1. The resolution requests the WHO Director-General to submit a report on preparations for the HLM in 2018 to the World Health Assembly in May 2018, after consideration by the Executive Board in January 2018. The Executive Board also noted the workplan for the WHO Global Coordinating Mechanism on NCDs for the years 2018-2019, and endorsed the updated Appendix 3.

Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity: implementation plan
The Board noted the Secretariat’s report, which presents the draft implementation plan on ending childhood obesity. Overall Member States welcomed the report, although the USA requested additional opportunities to review the plan ahead of its endorsement at the 70th WHA and Member States including Sweden and Japan called for an improved monitoring and evaluation framework.

Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach
Member States supported a draft resolution on cancer. Amendments submitted by NGOs – including our sister federation UICC – are understood to have been taken forward during discussions of a drafting group, made up of 20 Member States, coordinated by Canada. Final consultations will take place on a revised draft until May this year, with the aim of adopting the final resolution at the 70th WHA.

Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health
Following a focus by the Secretariat on adolescent health at EB 140, Member States agreed with the suggestion to include a theme on early childhood development at the 142nd Executive Board in January 2018.