Barbados to chair WHO Executive Board

Barbados has been elected to Chair the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Executive Board.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other International Organisations in Geneva, Matthew Wilson, chaired on Barbados’ behalf on June 3 at the opening of the WHO’s Executive Board 155th Session, in Geneva.

Upcoming WHO Executive Board sessions will be chaired by Minister of Health and Wellness, Senator Dr The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott, including the one scheduled for January 2025.

WHO Executive Director, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, delivered an opening statement at the Executive Board’s session and welcomed Barbados’ leadership and chairmanship of the Board.

The Executive Board is one of the highest governing bodies in the WHO and gives effect to the decisions coming out of the World Health Assembly and also advises on the agenda and priorities for the annual Health Assembly, in addition to looking at WHO matters, such as the programme, budget and administration; management, governance and financial matters of the WHO; hosted partnerships; evaluations; and staff matters.

Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Wilson (FILE)

Ambassador Wilson noted that for Barbados to be chosen to serve as Chair indicates the high regard the member countries have for the country.

He said this could be attributed to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s leadership on Antimicrobial Resistance to the work of Barbados in highlighting issues of health and climate change, as well as the leadership of Barbados and Fiji in crafting the 2023 “Bridgetown Declaration on NCDs and Mental Health”. This document emanated from the June 2023 SIDS Ministerial Conference held in Bridgetown on non-communicable diseases and mental health.

In his opening remarks as Chair, Ambassador Wilson reiterated the challenges being faced by small island developing states.

“Our house is burning – theclimate crisis, geo-political tensions threatening peace and stability, and multilateralism is under threat. We live in the shadow of COVID-19 and in fearful anticipation of the next pandemic. Inequalities between and within states are increasing. Meeting the SDGs, including those relating to health, is severely off track,” he stressed.

He added that member countries must “keep pushing to find common ground and shared solutions” and act with “global moral responsibility”. (BGIS)

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