A United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting (HLM) is organised under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and brings together all 193 Member States to address issues of global importance and identify new goals or strategies set out in a political declaration (or similar document). Previous meetings have addressed other pressing global health issues such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance.
The first UN HLM on UHC in 2019 ended with the adoption of a political declaration. This declaration represented a significant milestone for global health as it set out a high-level framework for the development and implementation of national UHC plans with the engagement of civil society organisations and other stakeholders to implement UHC by 2030. Read more about what the 2019 political declaration on Universal Health Coverage means for cancer.
Preparations have already begun for the second UN HLM on UHC (UHC) in September 2023 and, over the course of the coming months, different stakeholders will release their assessments of progress and priorities for change in order to influence inter-governmental negotiations.
There will be several different opportunities for organisations and individuals to input into this process and UHC 2030 has provided useful resources covering frequently asked questions and timelines.
The HLM on UHC provides the cancer community with a range of different opportunities to get involved in advocacy and build new collaborations nationally, regionally and globally. The UICC team will continue to reach out to the UICC membership with key opportunities to get involved including:
UHC cannot be achieved if cancer, as the second leading cause of mortality globally, is left out. UICC will work with its members to highlight the needs of existing and future cancer patients and advocate for the inclusion of core cancer services in UHC benefit packages and financial protection mechanisms.
This work will build on recent progress in global cancer control initiatives, including those on cervical cancer elimination, breast and childhood cancers. The core of UICC’s advocacy will focus on calls to progressively realise cancer control in UHC by increasing the number of cancer services included in UHC benefit packages, expanding the population covered included in UHC packages and ensuring financial protection for cancer patients.
One of the major challenges so far in UHC advocacy has been addressing the misconception that cancer is too costly or complex for many countries to include within their UHC packages. In response, UICC will work with its members and use the growing body of evidence about the social and economic impacts of cancer, as well as the growing suite of cost-effective interventions, to make the case for including core cancer services in UHC. This work will involve co-developing resources and events with UICC members. For further information about how your organisation can get involved check out the ‘How to get involved’ box above or join the UICC Advocacy Network for updates.
Globally, as an ECOSOC-accredited organisation, UICC will follow the negotiation of the UHC political declaration and provide input into the preparations process. Throughout this process, UICC will reach out to its membership to request feedback to help shape its position and priorities. UICC members who are interested in finding out more about this, should contact the UICC Knowledge, Advocacy and Policy team.
There are a large number of resources available to support advocacy on UHC, the list below highlights a couple of key locations where you can find out more: