The Seventy-third World Health Assembly opened on Monday, 18 May, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the assembly will be virtual. The agenda has been reduced to fit into two days. The Assembly will close no later than Tuesday, 19 May 2020.
The programme is expected to cover the following:
- Opening of the Health Assembly by WHA 72 President
- Election of the President and five Vice-Presidents
- Presidential address
- Statements by invited speakers
- Address by the Director-General (on COVID-19 pandemic response)
- Statements by Heads of delegation on COVID-19 pandemic
- EB: election
- Closure/suspension (The WHA will consider suspending and reconvening later in the year to consider the remaining items on the agenda).
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
The Health Assembly is held annually (usually in May) in Geneva, Switzerland at the Palace of Nations, the location of WHO Headquarters.
The original membership of the WHA, at the first assembly held in 1948 numbered 55 member states. The WHA currently have 194 member states. In addition, six agencies have observer status at the WHA – the Vatican, the Palestinian Authority, the Order of Malta, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.