Universal health coverage

Health: essential for sustainable development

United Nations resolution on universal health coverage

Global support for universal health coverage is gathering momentum, with the unanimous adoption of a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that emphasizes health as an essential element of international development.

The resolution, adopted on 12 December 2012, urges governments to move towards providing all people with access to affordable, quality health-care services.

It recognizes the role of health in achieving international development goals and calls for countries, civil society and international organizations to include universal health coverage in the international development agenda.

The resolution reaffirms WHO’s leading role in supporting countries to respond to the challenges of implementing universal health coverage.

This concept has been increasingly recognized in international fora since WHO published the World health report 2010, entitled Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage. These include the Mexico City Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage adopted in April 2012, the Bangkok Statement on Universal Health Coverage in January 2012, and the Tunis Declaration on Value for Money, Sustainability and Accountability in the Health Sector, adopted in July 2012.

Health is an important cross-cutting policy issue in the international agenda, as it is a precondition and an outcome and indicator of all three dimensions of sustainable development. The resolution calls on Member States to adopt a multisectoral approach and to work on the social, environmental and economic determinants of health to reduce inequities and enable sustainable development