From left to right: Director-General Development Cooperation & Humanitarian Aid Belgium Dr Rombouts, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, H.E. Ambassador Mr Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations. @WHO
Geneva, 9 November 2022 – In a full day of strategic dialogue, Belgium and WHO shared global health priorities of the longstanding partnership and agreed to build their collaboration on universal health coverage, health-systems strengthening and equitable access to essential health technologies.
The delegation from Belgium – headed by Dr Heidy Rombouts, Director General Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, and HE Mr Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Ambassador, Permanent Representative – discussed issues of strategic importance, including sustainable financing of the Organization, accelerating equitable access to health technology, reaching UN Sustainable Development Goals targets on universal health coverage through resilient and transparent health systems, and joint action on neglected tropical diseases and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Belgium affirmed that WHO must continue to play its critical role in the global health architecture and repeated the country’s commitment to help sustainably fund WHO through a gradual increase in Member States’ assessed contributions. The delegation underlined Belgium’s support for a recent World Health Assembly resolution calling for the increase.
In the 2020-21 biennium, Belgium was among WHO’s top ten donors of core flexible funding.
“Our partnership with Belgium is very strong and goes far beyond multi-annual financial support,” WHO Chef de Cabinet Dr Catharina Boehme said.
During Wednesday’s sessions, Belgium highlighted its support for WHO’s work on equitable and timely access to quality health products and technologies, along with its continued support for the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and the Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction.
The dialogue also addressed Belgium’s collaboration with WHO on health-systems resilience, while expressing interest in more tightly coordinating the work of Belgium and WHO in priority countries, through Universal Health Coverage Partnership activities.
Integrating sexual and reproductive health and rights and integrating prevention and control of HIV, TB and AIDS in essential health services were flagged as points of attention. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgium has been a steadfast partner of WHO, providing financial support to the Universal Health Coverage Partnership for fragile health systems.
Belgium hosts the WHO Office to the European Union, and the WHO European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, and its Public Service for Health maintains a partnership with the WHO Regional office for Europe. Supporting Belgian regions include Flanders and Wallonia. In September 2022, Wallonia signed an agreement with WHO to expand technical cooperation, particularly in African countries.
The strategic dialogue also reflected on the great value of the expertise that Belgium has provided through its collaborating centres and young professional officers to help WHO deliver on its mandate.
For further information on the partnership between Belgium and WHO.