Norway's Statement on Internal and External Governance delivered by Director General of Health; Bjørn-Inge Larsen
Norway thanks the Secretariat also for this part of the consolidated concept paper. Norway is pleased to see a number of important suggestions regarding the improvement of internal governance. We strongly support the objective to foster a more strategic and disciplined approach to priority setting, to enhance the oversight of the programmatic and financial aspects of the Organization, and to improve efficiency and inclusivity of intergovernmental consensus building. The concept note very much points in the right direction.
We highlight the suggestions in the concept paper regarding improvement of EB’s executive role and to take a substantial role in priority setting.
We support the suggestions made in the consolidated concept paper to organize an extra EB-session and give officers of the board a clear and much more active mandate:
- to improve the working methods of the WHA through a series of changes
- to strengthen the linkages between the RC, the EB and the WHA, including the proposals in paragraph 79-81
- to ensure natural harmonization of the RCs.
- and to improve the support from the secretariat to guide these changes
Norway can support the development of a multiyear plan for governing bodies that improves prioritization and we would like to see described a timeline for this. However, we would like to see these suggestions related to budgets and the general programme of work. Overall priority setting needs stronger focus in WHO and mechanisms to improve this should be considered together and based on available resources.
At this stage we would like to study more closely how a stronger executive and oversight role for the board can be taken care of within existing structures. We find the proposal to expand the role of PBAC interesting. We also support considering the meeting cycles of the governing bodies to optimize their functioning and outcome.
There are several propositions regarding good governance that Norway supports. Our understanding is that we do not need to consider them elements of reform. This includes timely and precise information from the Secretariat in preparation of meetings, introduction of a traffic light system, better preparation of chairs, and improved readability of documents from the Secretariat. These measures could streamline meetings also early in the reform process.
Regarding global governance, Norway wants to strengthen WHO in order to maintain its role as the leading normative, technical and coordinating organization for global health. As was repeatedly stated yesterday, WHO is the only democratic and consensus driven organization in global health and Norway would like to underline the importance of this in the reform process.
We endorse the principles set out in paragraph 87 of the consolidated concept paper; to guard WHO’s democratic fundament and avoid undue influence.
Coordination within the UN system is crucial, not least at country level. We wish to take this opportunity to emphasise the principle of “Delivering as One” at country level, to enable policy consistency and strategies within the UN.
WHO hosts partnerships and is a member of partnerships. This is dual role is challenging and Norway would like to underline the need for clear guidance that ensures accountability and transparency.
We would lastly point out that the experiences from the multi-stakeholder forum on NCDs in Moscow were positive. As a working method such a forum gives us input from a broad range of partners and it supports transparency and accountability which are cornerstones for good governance. Norway believes that working with partners from civil society is beneficial when it comes to implementation of the World Health Organization’s normative and technical advice.