The WHO Universal Health and Preparedness Review should include local and regional governments

On 30 June, the Geneva Cities Hub submitted its contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO), in relation to the establishment of a new mechanism, the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR).

The UHPR is a new mechanism in which countries agree to a voluntary, regular and transparent review of their comprehensive national health and preparedness capacities, and commit to rapidly strengthen preparedness and response to health emergencies. It is a WHO Member States-led intergovernmental process that elevates these issues to the highest levels of government. The UHPR is part of WHO’s proposal for strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience, based on the principles of equity, inclusivity and coherence.

In the same way that the GCH promotes the participation of local and regional governments (LRGs) to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council (see “Tips for LRGs in the UPR”), the GCH calls upon WHO Secretariat and States to ensure that the whole-of-government principle does not only include all relevant Ministries in the UHPR, but also various levels of governments in a given country. Indeed, the GCH believes that LRGs are essential actors when it comes to improving and strengthening capacities for health emergency preparedness and that they should be included. The GCH therefore encourages States to first and foremost involve LRGs in the national review phase and also enable their participation in the global peer review phase.

Concretely, the GCH encourages States to consult LRGs in the national consultation process relating to the drafting of the national report, to include them in the national delegation presenting the report at the international level and to consult LRGs on the outcome and follow-up to the UHPR. In addition, the GCH supports the possibility for LRGs to provide written submissions ahead of the global peer review phase, alongside civil society, UN agencies and regional organizations.

The GCH hopes that its contribution will be supported by WHO and States, because the participation of LRGs in the Universal Health and Preparedness Review is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of this new mechanism and to bring concrete changes on the ground.

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