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Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen to attend WHO’s World Health Assembly in Geneva 

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 27.5.2024 12.58 | Published in English on 27.5.2024 at 16.54
Press release

The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding its 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva on 27 May–1 June 2024. This is one of the most significant World Health Assembly meetings in years. Finland will be represented at the meeting by Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

The 77th World Health Assembly will approve the WHO general programme of work for 2025–2028. The importance of having a new general programme of work has increased as a result of changes and overlapping crises in the field of global health, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, growing geopolitical tensions and the climate crisis.  

“The WHO and its 194 Member States play a significant role in solving global health issues particularly in the current world situation. Finland appreciates the work done by the WHO and its commitment to achieving the global health objectives,” says Grahn-Laasonen. 

The decisions to be made at the World Health Assembly will aim to support the sustainability of healthcare systems and the right to health for all. It is particularly important for Finland to promote gender equality and the rights of women in a cross-cutting manner in matters related to health and wellbeing. 

“In crises, women often bear the biggest burden with respect to their families and healthcare. It is important to recognise women's role in solving crises and strengthening the sustainability and social cohesion of societies," says Minister Grahn-Laasonen.

Negotiations on pandemic treaty and amendments to International Health Regulations 

The WHO Member States have been negotiating a new pandemic treaty and amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) for two years now. The aim of both negotiations is to strengthen international cooperation and national preparedness for pandemics and other health threats. Pandemics and other large-scale health emergencies know no borders, which is why Finland considers international cooperation essential in combating them.

The aim was to conclude the negotiations on the pandemic treaty and the IHR amendments so that they could be adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2024. However, the negotiations have not been completed within the set timelimit, and the World Health Assembly will decide on the possible continuation of these processes. This is not unusual when it comes to international agreements. Negotiations may continue after the World Health Assembly either in full or in respect of some areas.

World Health Assembly to discuss role of economy in health promotion

The World Health Assembly will also discuss the resolution on Economics of Health for All promoted by Finland. Finland has worked consistently to promote the economic perspective internationally, for example, in cooperation with the WHO. The WHO actively takes forward the discussion on the role of the economy in promoting people’s health and wellbeing, as part of the achievement of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. The World Health Assembly will also hold a broader debate on the matter. In connection with the Assembly, Finland will hold a side event together with Belgium and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday 28 May to promote the implementation of the resolution. 

“The sustainability of healthcare systems is being put to the test, and we are behind schedule with achieving the goals set in the 2030 Agenda. We must act boldly to protect and promote our population’s health and wellbeing. The right to health belongs to everyone,” says Minister Grahn-Laasonen.

At the beginning of May, the WHO published a theme issue of its Bulletin, focusing on the role of the economy in promoting health and wellbeing. In this issue, Who Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo write that new ways of modelling the mutual effects of the economy, health and wellbeing are needed.  


Eemil Nuuttila, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 295 163603
Outi Kuivasniemi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, International Affairs, tel. +358 295 163 117
Annika Launiala, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 163053
Email addresses are in the format [email protected].