Media centre

Election in 2003 of WHO Director-General

Statement by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General

In January 2003, the 111th session of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization will nominate a candidate for the Director-General of WHO, for the period from July 2003 to July 2008, to be elected at the World Health Assembly in May 2003.

I have today informed the Chairman of the Executive Board that I will not be a candidate for this nomination.

When I took office in July 1998 I spelt out my vision for WHO and what I saw as our priorities ahead. I emphasized my ambition to help anchor health firmly on the international development agenda. I stressed the priority of improving the health of the poor. I underlined the need for WHO to reach out and mobilize a range of partners, based on solid evidence. I indicated how I envisaged a process of needed change and reform of the Organization.

Supported by our Member States, I feel we have made significant and substantial progress towards these objectives. Throughout my term as Director-General I have had a perspective for our policies and work that goes beyond the limits of any term. I have been encouraged and supported by the outstanding dedication and efforts of WHO staff in Geneva and all our offices around the world. I want to express my appreciation to them all.

WHO is solidly on track to fulfil the many demands being placed on it. The critical role of health in development has gained wide acceptance. The world has turned its attention to our priorities.

My decision to complete my work as Director-General at the end of my current term reflects the fact that I have had leading positions in political and public office for nearly 30 years, and would be 69 at the end of a second term. I will push ahead with our work every day that remains until July 2003 and I will continue to do everything I can to support the Organization and its noble cause in the future.