Closing remarks to the 60th World Health Assembly
Dr Margaret Chan
Director-General of the World Health Organization
ladies and gentlemen,
This has been the first Health Assembly under my responsibility as Director-General of the Organization.
I thank you, Madam President, the chairs and other officers of the two committees, and the many delegates who spent long hours in plenary, committees and drafting groups.
I have had many occasions to be proud of the spirit of consensus you have shown.
You have approved the programme budget for 2008-2009, and I am grateful. This is the largest budget ever for this Organization. However, you have also adopted a record number of resolutions!
I am fully prepared to exercise budgetary discipline.
All of these resolutions urge me to take specific actions, and I take this responsibility very seriously.
Let me mention three specific areas.
First, our efficiency and accountability, be it in administrative, financial, or programmatic areas, are subject to a number of checks and balances, including internal and external audit.
I am fully aware of the need for improvement in certain areas, and I am committed to taking firm and transparent action.
Second, the International Health Regulations come into force on the 15 June. My role in protecting international health security will increase as a result.
All countries need to be aware of their obligations under the revised International Health Regulations. When collective security is at stake, public opinion can carry great weight.
After very considerable discussion, you have adopted a resolution on the sharing of influenza viruses and access to pandemic vaccines and other benefits.
I want to underscore the importance of this decision.
My responsibilities in implementing the International Health Regulations depend on this sharing.
Finally, you have stated, time and time again, the need for better access to existing interventions, and the need for R&D to develop better tools.
This is especially true for diseases that disproportionately affect the poor.
I am referring, of course, to the issue of public health, innovation, and intellectual property.
I am fully committed to this process and have noted your desire to move forward faster.
We must make a tremendous effort. This requires the so-called "spirit of Geneva".
We know our incentive: the prevention of large numbers of needless deaths and suffering.
Madam President, honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Once again, I thank you for your excellent collaboration and assure you of my commitment to carry out your decisions.