International Federation of Medical Students' Associations

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Meeting: 
Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
18.1 WHO reform processes, including the transformation agenda, and implementation of United Nations development system reform
Statement: 

The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations welcomes the transformation reforms to streamline the work of WHO worldwide, giving greater clarity on the roles of country and regional offices and headquarters. We strongly urge that these reforms remain flexible and open to re-evaluation once they are finalized in the biennium 2020-2021 so that WHO’s structure can better align with other UN agencies following the forthcoming UN reform programme. WHO must ensure greater cooperation with other UN agencies and facilities, to avoid inefficient allocation of resources.

The increased attention on WHO Country Offices as leaders of engagement with government and translators of WHO normative work into policy is welcome. In line with the WHO Civil Society Organisation Task Team recommendations, we encourage governments and WHO Country Offices to jointly develop timebound country roadmaps for the engagement of civil society and youth. This would include the systematic consultation of civil society and youth in the development of Country Cooperation Strategies, as well as increased accessibility to international and regional WHO meetings by civil society organisations. These civil society and youth engagement frameworks should be adapted and adopted by regional offices and headquarters, too.

We are glad to see that the WHO governing bodies rule of procedures will be updated to increase gender sensitivity. However, we would like to highlight that gender is not binary, and being inclusive to peoples of diverse gender identity is essential to ensure health for all. To this end, we would welcome the employment of the words “they, theirs and them” rather than “she or he, hers or his and her or him”. This is both inclusive and grammatically correct.