Kjerkol's WHA address

President, Director General, Excellencies, Colleagues,

It is an honour to address you on the occasion of WHO’s 75-year anniversary. We pay tribute to WHO and its staff for their remarkable commitment. Over the past 75 years, we have made WHO a platform of health and solidarity.

Let me also address the dire situation in Ukraine, caused by Russia’s invasion. Norway condemns Russia’s aggression in the strongest possible terms. Russia’s deliberate attacks on civilians, health care facilities and health workers are flagrant violations of international law, and we will continue to support Ukraine and its people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While we are encouraged that much of the world has been able to return to normalcy, we remain cognizant of the continued, daily toll of the virus. And, as Dr Tedros mentioned, the pandemic has exposed major weaknesses and risks. 

Norway therefore prioritizes the ongoing processes to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response. We believe that filling global PPR gaps, and correcting global inequities, is within our reach. But it will take political will, including bold compromises.

We should also remind ourselves that neither the right to health, nor effective PPR, can be achieved without universal health coverage, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. This assembly, and the UN high level meeting in the fall, should help mobilise the major investments to make up for lost progress.

WHO’s own health is necessary for the organization to deliver. Norway remains strongly committed to the last WHA decision to significantly increase the assessed contributions, alongside other reforms, including prevention and response to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. This is necessary to assure a WHO fit for purpose for the next 75 years, even more effective, democratic, and transparent. 


I will end by referring to the constitution of our World Health Organization;

“The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest co-operation of individuals and States”.

Thank you!