On 1 December 2020, the Government of Norway and WHO met virtually for their annual strategic dialogue. This year’s meeting was particularly crucial, with the overall objective of reviewing strategic challenges for WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key issues discussed included universal health coverage, care management and risk reduction for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and health emergencies preparedness and country readiness.

“Norway has been a stalwart supporter of global health issues for decades, paving the way to strengthen health systems in lower- and middle-income countries, as shown by the country’s leadership of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All framework,” said Ms Jane Ellison, WHO Executive Director for External Relations and Governance. “And now within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Norway is playing a key role in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 tools.  WHO is deeply grateful to the Government of Norway for its leadership and pioneer work, acting as an example during the pandemic.”

Norway is one of WHO’s top 10 core voluntary donors. Its flexible funding support helps WHO address pockets of poverty, makes it possible for WHO to fill critical gaps to provide health interventions to the most vulnerable populations. It also allows WHO to act quickly by allocating funds when and where they are needed most.

Norway is also a pioneer in the area of NCDs and has initiated the development of a flagship initiative on NCDs in the context of development cooperation. A first of its kind, it sets out a trailblazing model of engagement across WHO divisions and the three levels of the Organization. More in-depth discussions on this new strategy will take place in the first quarter of 2021.

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