Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The UK is committed to promoting the health and well-being of all to advance the Sustainable Development Goals – UK statement at the UN General Assembly [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 5 October 2023.

Statement by Tom Woodroffe, UK Ambassador to the ECOSOC, at the Adoption of the Political Declarations of the High-Level Meetings on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, Universal Health Coverage, and the Fight Against Tuberculosis.

Mr President,

I would like to begin by thanking both the former and current Presidents of the General Assembly and the Co-facilitators for their hard work, which has enabled the adoption of the Political Declarations for PPPR, UHC, and the Fight against TB this morning. We are pleased that after many months of negotiations, we have been able to come to a consensus on our collective ambition here at the GA, following the endorsement of the Declarations at the highest levels during their respective High-Level Meetings. The UK is committed to promoting the health and well-being of all and to advancing progress on SDG 3. We stand ready to continue playing our part in implementing the commitments set out in the declarations.

During the High-level Meetings, the UK announced a package of almost £500 million in support for global health. This includes £295 million to respond to disease outbreaks and improve maternal and child health in low and middle-income countries, £103 million to halt the spread of infectious diseases and support sexual and reproductive health, £95 million to tackle deadly diseases in Africa, and £5 million to combat TB. This funding will contribute to strengthening health systems; boosting collaboration on research and development; improving coordination across human, animal and environmental health sectors; and improving access to safe and effective vaccines, medicines and tests.

We welcome the increased focus on scaling up investment in primary health care and TB. We must reform the international financial system to release more finance for health systems and pandemic preparedness in developing countries, including through greater investments in the Pandemic Fund.

However, domestic public resources must be the primary source for stronger health systems, alongside enhanced international support.

We encourage progress on negotiations on the Pandemic Accord in Geneva to agree on measures to improve PPPR whilst respecting national sovereignty. The most recent UHC global monitoring report paints an alarming picture, and we welcome the commitment to faster global progress to enable wider service coverage, financial protection, and stronger health workforces. And while TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease, we welcome the commitment to redouble efforts to get back on track to end TB by 2030, which will also help us in the fight against Anti-Microbial Resistance.

We are, however, frustrated that the declarations did not move us forward on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights, both of which are integral to achieving universal health coverage and our wider health goals for all. Despite that, we hope that these declarations will act as a platform from which we can all move forward with renewed ambition, cooperation and partnership to achieve health and well-being for all.

And finally, Mr. President, next year’s High-Level Meeting on Anti-Microbial Resistance will be a landmark opportunity to tackle AMR on a truly global scale. We look forward to playing our part in that as we continue to work together to advance global health.

Thank you.