A United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) is convened by the UN General Assembly (UN GA), the main decision-making body of the UN representing all 193 UN Member States. Agreement to hold a dedicated UN HLM on a specialized topic is taken in exceptional circumstances through a UN resolution and vote, with the purpose of reaching agreement on cooperation measures and solutions on important global issues among Heads of State and governments.
The UN HLM on TB will be the fifth time the UN has called for a high-level meeting devoted to a health issue, the first being the 2001 Special Session on HIV/AIDS, followed by UN HLMs on Non-Communicable Diseases, Ebola and Antimicrobial Resistance.
Following a campaign launched by the Stop TB Partnership Board and partners in September 2016 at its Board Meeting in New York, the resolution calling for a UN HLM on TB was tabled in December 2016 by the Global Health and Foreign Policy Initiative, a UN country grouping which includes South Africa, Thailand, Brazil, France, Norway, Senegal, and Indonesia. The resolution, and specifically the text calling for the HLM on TB, was agreed unanimously by UN member states through a vote in the UN General Assembly.
The UN High-Level Meeting is the biggest and best opportunity to raise the political priority of TB. It is the most significant political meeting ever held on TB. The meeting will result in a Political Declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State that will form the basis for the future TB response.
It should secure commitment from Heads of State and government for a coordinated global response, agree to substantially increase financial resources for TB, and lead to millions of lives saved from premature deaths from TB. It should endorse measurable targets and commitments from governments and key stakeholders for 2020 and 2025, and a robust accountability system with regular monitoring and evaluation.
The meeting will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 26th September, during the UN General Assembly General Debate.
The UNHLM on TB Coordinating Group convened by the Stop TB Partnership and partners has developed the following headline key asks (download the full key asks and targets by clicking here), which will be the basis for advocacy on the commitments in the UNHLM on TB Political Declaration:
- Reach all people by closing the gaps on TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention
- Transform the TB response to be equitable, rights-based, and people-centered
- Accelerate development of essential new tools to end TB
- Invest the funds necessary to end TB
- Commit to decisive and accountable global leadership, including regular UN reporting and review
The UN High-Level Meeting on TB will be organized under the direction of the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA). The World Health Organization and The Stop TB Partnership are working closely together to support the PGA in the organization of the meeting.
Mr. Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN and Mr. Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, have been selected as the UNHLM co-facilitators. They have a critical role in the UNHLM preparations and will chair key discussions and negotiations. In recent meetings with the STBP, both co-facilitators have expressed their strong commitment to the success of the meeting, their desire for ambitious outcomes, and their support for the strong and robust involvement of civil society.
Previous UN HLM’s have been attended by Heads of State, Government Ministers, UN Secretary-General and other UN leaders, civil society, community representatives, the private sector, UN Ambassadors, researchers, academics, parliamentarians, and other relevant partners. Accreditation to attend the HLM closed on 27th April 2018.
However, Accreditation is not required for UN member states, UN entities, and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC (please see list of institutions with ECOSOC status here).
The co-facilitators are expected to release by early June a ‘Zero Draft,’ which is a first draft of the UN HLM Political Declaration that will be endorsed by Heads of State. The ‘Zero Draft’ will be the basis for member states negotiations conducted in New York by UN Missions to produce a final resolution. The final Political Declaration is expected to be endorsed by Heads of State at the HLM on TB on 26th September 2018.
The Modalities Resolution for the UNHLM on TB outlines the agenda, which includes:
- an opening segment from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.,
- a plenary segment where Heads of State will deliver their statements from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.,
- two multi-stakeholder panels from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m, and a
- closing segment from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The panels will focus on the following themes:
Panel 1 - Accelerating comprehensive response through access to affordable prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care to end the TB epidemic, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, taking into consideration co-morbidities and the linkages to relevant health challenges on each country’s path towards achieving Universal Health Coverage; taking note of and building on the efforts concerning an accountability framework to drive multisectoral action as envisaged in the Moscow Ministerial Declaration
Panel 2 - Scaling up sufficient and sustainable national and international financing and implementation for service delivery, innovation, and research and development to identify new diagnostics, drugs, vaccines and other prevention strategies.
An attendance of at least 40 Heads of State is expected at the UN HLM on TB given that it will take place on the second day of the opening of the UN General Assembly General Debate, and the strong levels of political interest in the meeting.