Remarks by Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, on "Global Health and Foreign Policy"

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative 
New York, NY
December 9, 2010


Mr. President, the United States delegation welcomes that the Assembly is united to promote global health and its link to foreign policy. Health is at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals, and is essential to progress on poverty eradication, socio-economic development, primary education for all, gender equality, and partnering for development. In light of the interdependence of the MDGs, it is important for governments to consider the impact of policies on the health of their populations.

The United States Global Health Initiative is a top priority and we have committed $63 billion over six years. The principles of our Global Health Initiative include: a woman- and girl- centered approach, strong country ownership and country-led plans, and building sustainability of health systems. Working in more than 80 countries worldwide, the Global Health Initiative’s goals address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, maternal health, child health, nutrition, family planning and reproductive health, neglected tropical diseases, and health systems. Strengthening the capacity and resiliency of health systems in the face of multiple public health and disease challenges is a key component. Given new health challenges, including the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases, cross-sectoral approaches are going to be the key to improved outcomes.

Beyond the Global Health Initiative, U.S. health diplomacy focuses on promoting pandemic preparedness, implementing the International Health Regulations, addressing environmental health issues and emerging infectious diseases, eradicating polio, and responding to biosecurity threats.

The World Health Organization is the essential UN system leader, partner, and convener in global health. WHO recognizes the importance of acting in concert with partners. There are many new health initiatives, public-private partnerships, and increased international resources for health. These have had a positive impact and made us value coordination and coherence, especially at the country level. The U.S. Global Health Initiative seeks to focus and align cooperation with country-driven approaches. Other donor initiatives and partnerships are doing the same, recognizing the need for all country-level actors to work together to maximize impact and efficiencies.

Mr. President, the U.S. is pleased to cosponsor the draft resolution on global health and foreign policy and our delegation appreciates the spirit of cooperation of all negotiating partners. The progress in global health requires coherence in our health and foreign policies, and we believe that a fulsome partnership will advance our shared goals.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2010/319