ESMO Statement on Cancer Resolution at WHO Executive Board Meeting

  • Date: 02 Feb 2017

ESMO supports the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution which will improve access and affordability of cancer care and its integration into national healthcare systems: as medical oncologists we want to ensure that our patients have access to safe, high-quality medicines, treatment and care that are both accessible and affordable.

Update of the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution

An ESMO delegation of officers and senior staff attended the 140th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting in Geneva, 23-31 January 2017 where topics relevant to the practice of medical oncology were discussed, such as access to medicines, the implementation of the current WHO Global Strategy on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and a Cancer Resolution.

ESMO’s official statement during the meeting advocated for the urgent need for a robust and comprehensive Cancer Resolution that can help drive national progress, particularly in low- and middle-income countries that face the biggest challenges of a rapidly growing cancer burden.

ESMO advocated the ‘Cancer Resolution’ because it believes the Resolution could:

  • establish the core disciplines and services for a holistic, impactful and scalable cancer response, adapted to the local burden and aligned with national healthcare capacities for cancer care
  • bring together in one document existing commitments from a series of World Health Assembly resolutions that are highly relevant for cancer, including those on palliative care, access to surgery and anaesthesia, essential medicines, patient-centred primary care, as well as the life course and aging agenda
  • reinforce the mandate for the non-communicable disease (NCD) team at WHO to respond to Member States’ requests for technical assistance and guidance on cancer
  • emphasise the opportunities for integration and efficiencies of building on existing health services such as HIV-AIDs, child adolescent health or reproductive health and maternal services
  • provide a framework for effective international engagement, because there are a number of key allied agencies and organisations who stand ready with the expertise and tools required to assist.

ESMO’s advocacy efforts were supported by the ESMO National Representatives who contacted the Ministry of Health of those countries represented on the WHO Executive Board.

Our united efforts were successful and appreciated. There was widespread support by the WHO Member States for the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution. The majority of the Resolution was accepted with great support. WHO Member States will continue to work on the final text with the goal that it can be presented for adoption at the 2017 World Health Assembly in May.

The text of the Cancer Resolution was presented to the WHO Executive Board within the ‘WHO Secretariat’s Report on Cancer Prevention and Control in the Context of an Integrated Approach’. The report contains recommended actions for WHO Member States at the country level, as well actions that WHO has taken or will take in the future to support Member States and to ensure that they report back to WHO on progress made to implement the Resolution. The 2017 Cancer Resolution builds on the 2005 Cancer Resolution and prioritises public health actions based on the WHO Global Strategy on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which were adopted after 2005.

The ESMO Statement at the 140th World Health Organization’s Executive Board meeting can be downloaded from the link below, together with the statement made by the Union for International Cancer Control – which was supported by ESMO – as well as the WHO Secretariat Report on Cancer Prevention and Control in the Context of an Integrated Approach.

As a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, ESMO is invited to attend WHO Governing Bodies meetings and post position statements, making its views known prior and during any debate.

Representatives from Ministries of Health around the world were there to address critical public health topics, approve reports and resolutions, select the final list of candidates for the position of the next WHO Director General, and set the agenda for the World Health Assembly which takes place in Geneva in May each year.

Download the statements and report