Minister Butler to advance Australia's interests at the World Health Assembly in Geneva

Media event date:
25 May 2024

Date published:
25 May 2024

Media type:
Media release

General public

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, will attend the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland from 26 May.
At the World Health Assembly (the Assembly), Minister Butler will represent Australia’s interests alongside Health Ministers and officials from the 194 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO), as the Assembly considers important matters that promote health and manage health threats and emergencies.
The resilience of our health systems is always being put to the test, for example through the growing burden of non‑communicable diseases and persistent health security threats including those worsened by the impacts of climate change. Minister Butler will reinforce Australia’s commitment to better global cooperation on health challenges. 
The Assembly is also considering landmark reforms to strengthen the world’s capacity to prepare for and respond to health emergencies, through a proposed international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, and amendments to the International Health Regulations.
Both instruments aim to ensure the global community, including Australia, acts on the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and is better equipped for future health emergencies.
Both instruments remain under active negotiation, and we remain hopeful that consensus can be found. We are committed to realising these much-needed reforms to the global health system, while also protecting each country’s right to make its own decisions on domestic public health policies and responses.
While in Geneva, Minister Butler will engage ministerial counterparts and health experts on pressing domestic health issues such as digital health, primary care reforms, youth mental health, nicotine dependency, and rheumatic heart disease.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Global cooperation on health issues means the Australian Government is better equipped to protect the health and wellbeing of the Australian community.
“We know certain health threats are more likely to arise overseas and global cooperation helps Australia monitor and respond to these challenges.
“Our domestic health challenges are shared by many of our partners around the world. Representing and advancing Australia’s interests at the World Health Assembly will be an important opportunity to compare notes and share advice.”

Author: ibm1

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