Reporting back: 142nd Meeting of the WHO Executive Board

31 January 2018

From the 22nd to the 27th January, the 34 countries of the WHO Executive Board met in Geneva to review key WHO plans and reports, provide feedback to WHO ahead of the World Health Assembly in May.

A number of key agenda items for the cancer community were up for discussion including:

WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work

The general programme  sets out three clear priorities, alongside five platforms, which will shape WHO’s work between 2019 and 2023. Platform two makes the case for strong NCD prevention strategies, and the GPW more broadly indicates that cancer treatment and care should be included in national universal health care (UHC) packages. UICC supported the plan, but argued for stronger indicators to track access to cancer treatment services. Read UICC's joint statement

Addressing the global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines

The WHO report identifies a number of key stages across the production and procurement chain to understand how they may contribute to limited access to medicines, as the foundation for a roadmap on improving supply and access. In discussions countries recognised that access to medicines and vaccines is essential to achieving UHC, and a number of countries raised concerns over the use of TRIPs flexibilities, understanding the costs and impacts of research and development, and the need for WHO to share best practices to improve prioritisation, procurement, distribution and development of medicines and vaccines. UICC supported the development of the report and called Member States’ attention to the global shortage of HPV vaccines. Read UICC’s statement

Preparation for the third UN High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases

WHO produced a key report highlighting the major trends in NCD action, calling attention to a number of key barriers to action including weak political commitments, inadequate investment, lack of policy coherence, and the slow implementation of ‘Best Buys’ for cancer and NCDs. It also reflected on progress since the 2017 cancer resolution and the evaluation of the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs.

In discussions, Member States emphasised the need for urgent action to achieve the Global Action Plan on NCDs 25x25 target, and Sustainable Development Goal 3.5 by their respective deadlines. UICC welcomed the report and the work by the secretariat and called for Member States to include civil society in the High-level meeting preparations, and ensure Head of State/Government participation to ensure top-level political commitments. Read UICC’s joint statement.

UICC also supported civil society feedback to reports on climate change and health, maternal, infant and young child nutrition, and mHealth in partnership with UICC members and the NCD Alliance.

Next steps

These agenda items were all passed and will be discussed at the upcoming World Health Assembly, which will run 21st to 26th May at the Palais des Nations. If you are a UICC member who would like to understand more about the World Health Assembly please contact

Last update: 
Thursday 1 February 2018