WHO Director-General’s remarks at Session 3 – Sustainable Development at the G20 Summit – 31 October 2021

31 October 2021

Grazie Mille, Prime Minister,

Excellencies, colleagues and friends,

Even before COVID-19, the world was off-track for achieving the health-related targets in the SDGs. Now we’re even further behind.

Disruptions to essential health services have put at risk many of the gains we have made in routine childhood vaccination, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, noncommunicable diseases, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and more.

The pandemic has only underlined the centrality of health, and why we must pursue the SDGs with greater determination, innovation and collaboration.

We urge all nations to support WHO’s three strategic priorities:

First, to address the underlying reasons that people get sick and die: poverty; racial and gender inequities; air pollution and climate change, and other social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

Second, to strengthen national and global health security, including through a treaty or agreement on pandemic preparedness and response.

And third, to strengthen primary health care in every country, as the foundation for universal health coverage, and the first line of defence against outbreaks and diseases of all kinds.

WHO remains committed to supporting every country at every income level to realise the right to health, or health for all. And we are committed to working with our partner agencies through the SDG3 Global Action Plan.

Excellencies, vaccines will help to end the pandemic, but the ultimate vaccine against pandemics and all health threats is leadership. The world needs your leadership, now more than ever.

Prime Minister Draghi, thank you very much for hosting this very important meeting, the milestones, and your leadership.

I thank you.

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