Skip to content

The 63rd session of the World Health Assembly is taking place in Geneva until 21 May 2010. At this session, the Health Assembly will discuss a number of public health issues, including:
  • implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005);
  • monitoring of the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals;
  • strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; and 
  • counterfeit medical products. 
The Health Assembly will also discuss the program budget, administration and management matters of the World Health Organization (WHO).

PAHO-WHO/Harold Ruiz 

Time to get back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, opened the assembly reminding all present that thirty years ago, the World Health Assembly declared that "the world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox." For Dr. Chan, smallpox eradication "provided dramatic proof of the power of collective action to improve the human condition in a permanent way." She urged increased efforts to reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

"Equity and social justice are at the heart of the Millennium Declaration and its Goals," said WHO's Director-General. And concluded: "They were always at the heart of the primary health care approach. As last year's resolution on primary health care noted, principles such as universal access to services, multisectoral action, and community participation form a solid basis for strengthening health systems."

Read the Director-General's full address to the Health Assembly.

How the World Health Asembly works

WHO was established 62 years ago to promote health and ease the burden of disease worldwide. The Organization takes direction for its goals and priorities from the 193 Member States it is designed to serve. Each year, senior health officials from all these Member States come to Geneva to participate in the World Health Assembly. It is at the Health Assembly that WHO's work is reviewed, new goals are set, and new tasks assigned.

The 63rd World Health Assembly this year has a long and complex list of health challenges and responses to review.

The process at the annual World Health Assembly

At the Health Assembly two main types of meeting are held, each with a different purpose:

  • Committees meet to debate technical and health matters (Committee A), and financial and management issues (Committee B), and approve the texts of resolutions, which are then submitted to the plenary meeting.
  • Plenary is the meeting of all delegates to the World Health Assembly. The Health Assembly meets in plenary several times in order to listen to reports and adopt the resolutions transmitted by the committees. The Director-General and Member States also address the delegates at the plenary.
In addition, technical briefings are organized separately on specific public health topics to present new developments in the area, provide a forum for debate and to allow for information sharing.

For more information, visit WHO's web site.


Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2010 02:56

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

© Pan American Health Organization. All rights reserved.