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PAHO Executive Committee concludes virtual session

24 Jun 2020

Washington, D.C., 24 June 2020 (PAHO/WHO) - The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) concluded its 166th session yesterday, in a virtual format, addressing resolutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of the Americas, PAHO’s governance reforms and other documents relating to the organization's administration.

The Executive Committee discussed a detailed epidemiologic analysis of the COVID-19 situation in the region as well as an assessment of the responses by PAHO and its Member States, along with the associated challenges related to COVID-19. The Committee approved a resolution, which outlines several actions recommended for countries to take as they face the next stages in the pandemic.

PAHO Director Dr Carissa F. Etienne told the committee, “We have all recognized that this is a highly complex situation, which requires meaningful whole of government approaches and evidence-based interventions as well as active and unified collaboration from all of us in order to minimize the significant negative impacts of COVID-19 across all populations and all sectors.”

Etienne recalled that “PAHO has previously worked on several public health emergencies in the past, such as the SARS, H1N1 influenza and Zika and we have learned many lessons from those experiences including the need for providing agile leadership and international coordination.” The Organization remains committed to supporting all Member States and Territories in this Region “as they battle this invisible but deadly enemy,” she added.

The Executive Committee also addressed the organization's financial challenges, such as the low level of payment of assessed contributions, as well as a PAHO governance reform project to provide even greater transparency and accountability to projects financed by voluntary contributions.

This governing body is currently composed of Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United States, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru. This session was convened virtually in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of many international borders.

The Executive Committee's deliberations determine the final agenda to be addressed during the 58th Directing Council, which plans to meet, in principle virtually, from 28 to 29 September this year.

The Executive Committee functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the Directing Council of PAHO. It is composed of nine Member States elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference or the Directing Council of PAHO to serve for a period of three years. It meets twice a year or more frequently if there is a special request from the Director of PAHO or at least three Member States.