Reflections from the WHO EURO meeting

Monday, 6 October 2014

Jolanta Bilinska, IAPO Chair Elect, and Evgenia Starkova, from IAPO member Together Against Cancer, attended the WHO Regional Committee meeting for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark from 15 to 18 September 2014.

In what ways did you represent IAPO at your WHO Regional Committee? 

We shared two interventions (highlighting the IAPO position on universal health coverage and on the involvement of non-state actors with WHO) during the sessions on Tuesday. We had previously secured support for our statement, creating a joint statement with four other organizations. This was commended by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe​ during the NGO meeting on
Wednesday. We contacted many NGOs and talked to them about IAPO goals and
objectives, looking for points of collaboration. 

What were your personal highlights?

  • We were very much involved in the work of the Regional Committee, and this was possible not only due to our own determination, but also to the fact that WHO Europe is now much more dedicated to engaging with NGOs and facilitating our work here. We had a dedicated contact person which made it easier for us to achieve all the objectives.
  • We had a personal talk with HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. She asked us about the work we do and how it is reflected in various regions. We told her about the composition of IAPO and its goals and objectives.
  • Technical briefings on migration and health, women’s health as well as on the country focus for WHO Europe were very informative and relatively informal, so we could participate in the discussion.
  • The newly approved budget (for 2016-2017) allocates more resources to non-communicable diseases on national levels, which is interesting to our member organizations.
  • The reform of WHO is moving forward – more transparency and accountability also means better engagement with the civil society. We felt that all the top officials of WHO and WHO Europe were very approachable and helpful.
  • DG Chan’s speeches were very sharp, down-to-earth and impressive and inspiring. Her leadership made WHO’s reform ambitions believable.
  • Zsuzsanna Jakab was re-elected for another five year term.

See the interventions here: