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Working together for a healthier and safer world: WHO and IPU renew partnership


The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and WHO signed a new Memorandum of Understanding today, reaffirming the key role parliamentarians play in enabling good health to foster stable and just societies.

The new five-year memorandum was signed by Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of IPU, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, on 148th IPU Assembly, taking place in Geneva from 23 to 27 March 2024. Both organizations pledge to continue working together to promote, deliver and protect the health and well-being of all people, everywhere. Restores historic commitment undertaken in 2018. to use their respective scientific and political mandates to address the ongoing and emerging challenges facing populations around the world.

The memorandum strengthens critical areas of cooperation aligned with global health priorities, namely universal health coverage, global health security, health promotion and reduction of health inequalities, particularly in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It also adds new cross-sectoral areas of work, including responding to climate change, supporting government-led negotiations on a new pandemic agreement and sustainable health financing. This includes collaboration on WHO's first round of investment this year to overcome the historic imbalance between assessed and voluntary contributions, the disruptions this creates, and the problems WHO faces with insufficiently predictable and flexible funding.

WHO Member States set their own the last round of negotiations on the international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response before the scheduled consideration of the proposal for adoption at 77th to the World Health Assembly in May 2024. The proposed agreement aims to provide a basis for international cooperation that has been lacking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliaments are key in supporting the process towards adoption, as well as guiding subsequent deliberations at the national level.

dr. Tedros said: “Parliamentarians play a key role in setting policies, prioritizing investments and ensuring accountability for improving public health. Public service political leadership saves lives and protects health by ensuring that communities and countries are better prepared and designed to be healthier and safer. WHO looks forward to working even more closely with the IPU and parliamentarians around the world to advance efforts to protect and promote people's well-being, from negotiating a pandemic agreement to prevent a repeat of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to investing in universal health coverage. “

Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic was not an isolated phenomenon. Another pandemic will happen. It's not a question of if, but when. Parliaments have a key role, which is why we will continue to work with WHO at all levels to raise awareness among parliamentarians about the Pandemic Agreement and other global health processes; provide parliamentarians with access to technical expertise and information; and support them to pursue their national health priorities and support them with the necessary legislation and resources.”

Milestones of previous cooperation between IPU and WHO include significant IPU resolution of 2019 on achieving universal health coverage, numerous practical resources for parliamentarians such as the recent handbook on universal health care and numerous events that brought together health experts and parliamentarians.


The IPU is a global organization of national parliaments. It was founded in 1889 as the first multilateral political organization in the world, which encourages cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU consists of 180 member national parliaments and 15 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes peace, democracy and sustainable development. It helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender balanced and more innovative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of representatives from around the world.

For more information about the IPU, contact Thomas Fitzsimons at e-mail: [email protected].





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