The World Heart Federation was an active presence throughout the 154th Executive Board (EB154) of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland from 22-27 January 2024. Advocacy Committee Chair Trevor Shilton and the members of the Policy and Advocacy Team participated throughout the week; in addition to meeting with numerous country delegations and fellow advocates from the NCD and global health communities, the Team delivered a number of targeted statements in response to the EB agenda. Our statements on Universal Health Coverage, Noncommunicable Diseases, Health Emergencies, Maternal and Child Health, Climate and Health, Social Determinants of Health, Well-being and Health Promotion, Engagement of Non-State Actors, and the WHO’s 14th General Programme of Work ensured that cardiovascular disease played an important role in the agenda-setting conversation.
While the global cardiovascular community was well-represented in both formal and informal discussions throughout the Executive Board meeting, negotiations among Member States seemed particularly challenging this year. From disagreements surrounding language on gender to objections to the FENSA process for approving Non-State Actor status, politically and culturally sensitive issues often seemed to take centre stage in a platform designed to focus on evidence-based solutions for matters related to global health. Several proposed resolution drafts were noted with bracketed text that will require further negotiation during the “intersessional” period between the EB and the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May. The World Heart Federation looks forward to continuing to engage with Member States during this critical period in preparation for the World Heart Summit and World Health Assembly in just four months’ time.