(Check against delivery)Thank you,
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the UHC2030 members, Mission colleagues, and all the speakers and partners for making this briefing possible.
This is indeed a very timely event as we prepare for the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage to be held next September under the co-facilitation of Thailand and Hungary. In order to build momentum and prepare ourselves, interested Member States created the Group of Friends of UHC here in New York. I would like to take this opportunity to explain some of the background of the Group and to discuss the way forward with you.
The Group of Friends is intended to be an informal platform for UN Member States to build momentum, in support of the co-facilitators, towards the HLM on UHC in 2019, and also towards achieving UHC by 2030. Main objectives are three folds.
First, it will exchange information on events and initiatives worldwide and at the UN that seek to support and advocate for achieving UHC by 2030.
Second, it will also serve as a forum where members can discuss how to reiterate the value of UHC as an overarching goal to promote good health and well-being for all people at all ages in line with the 2030 Agenda.
Finally, it will provide an opportunity for interested Member States to hear from relevant experts, partners and advocates on the various components necessary to achieve and sustain UHC.
Events like today’s combine all three objectives. As we heard from Dr. Yamamoto on developments in Geneva, we need to ensure coherence and consistency. It is also important that we are well informed from the field, and we are glad that we can also hear from country and civil society experiences, which will keep our discussion relevant to the people on the ground.
As we proceed, we welcome ideas and suggestions from all of you as to what kind of events will be most helpful for the upcoming preparations and negotiations under the co-facilitators.
So far, some 30 Member States including many Missions here today have already joined the Group of Friends, but please refer to the concept note and let us know if you are interested in joining.
I trust today’s briefing will serve as a kickstarter towards an impactful UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. We look forward to the discussions.
I thank you.