2023 High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

The second High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) will take place on 21 September 2023, where governments should adopt a set of new commitments to accelerate UHC implementation. 

Dr Cary Adams speaking at WHA72

A United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting (HLM) is organised under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and brings together all 193 Member States to address issues of global importance and identify new goals or strategies set out in a political declaration (or similar document). Previous meetings have addressed other pressing global health issues such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance.

UN High-Level Meetings on Universal Health Coverage 

The first UN HLM on UHC in 2019 ended with the adoption of a political declaration. This declaration represented a significant milestone for global health as it set out a high-level framework for the development and implementation of national UHC plans with the engagement of civil society organisations and other stakeholders to implement UHC by 2030. Read more about what the 2019 political declaration on Universal Health Coverage means for cancer

Preparations have already begun for the second UN HLM on UHC (UHC) in September 2023 and, over the course of the coming months, different stakeholders will release their assessments of progress and priorities for change in order to influence inter-governmental negotiations. 

There will be several different opportunities for organisations and individuals to input into this process and UHC 2030 has provided useful resources covering frequently asked questions and timelines

How is this relevant to the cancer community? 

UHC cannot be achieved if cancer, as the second leading cause of mortality globally, is left out. UICC will work with its members to highlight the needs of existing and future cancer patients and advocate for the inclusion of core cancer services in UHC benefit packages and financial protection mechanisms. 

This work will build on recent progress in global cancer control initiatives, including those on cervical cancer elimination, breast and childhood cancers. The core of UICC’s advocacy will focus on calls to progressively realise cancer control in UHC by increasing the number of cancer services included in UHC benefit packages, expanding the population covered included in UHC packages and ensuring financial protection for cancer patients.

How to get involved?

The HLM on UHC provides the cancer community with a range of different opportunities to get involved in advocacy and build new collaborations nationally, regionally and globally. The UICC team will continue to reach out to the UICC membership with key opportunities to get involved.

  • Read UICC's ask document (this will shortly be available in French and Spanish).

  • Reach out to decision makers in your country to call for the inclusion of key cancer measures in the Political Declaration on UHC. 

  • Join us for UICC's virtual dialogues on cancer control and UHC

How is UICC involved? 

One of the major challenges so far in UHC advocacy has been addressing the misconception that cancer is too costly or complex for many countries to include within their UHC packages. In response, UICC will work with its members and use the growing body of evidence about the social and economic impacts of cancer, as well as the growing suite of cost-effective interventions, to make the case for including core cancer services in UHC. This work will involve co-developing resources and events with UICC members. For further information about how your organisation can get involved check out the ‘How to get involved’ box above or join the UICC Advocacy Network for updates. 

Globally, as an ECOSOC-accredited organisation, UICC will follow the negotiation of the UHC political declaration and provide input into the preparations process. Throughout this process, UICC will reach out to its membership to request feedback to help shape its position and priorities. UICC members who are interested in finding out more about this, should contact the UICC Knowledge, Advocacy and Policy team

Useful resources 

There are a large number of resources available to support advocacy on UHC, the list below highlights a couple of key locations where you can find out more: 

  • UICC's draft ask document for coverage of cancer services in UHC benefit packages
  • UICC's Special Focus Dialogue on what a UN HLM is, how it can help support cancer control advocacy and what issues are at the forefront for UICC members.
  • UHC 2030: This group is the main coordinating mechanism for non-government actors in the UHC preparations process. They have a suite of resources including a 'Health for All' advocacy toolkit and a helpful Frequently Asked Questions section which provides more information on the modalities for the meeting etc. 
  • Civil Society Engagement Mechanism: This is a sub-group of UHC 2030 which focuses on representing the voices of civil society organisations and provides additional resources including webinars and briefs.

Virtual Dialogues

Virtual Dialogue: UHC and cancer prevention

World Cancer Congress Day 1
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Virtual Dialogue: cancer screening, early detection and UHC

World Cancer Congress Day 1
Read more

Virtual Dialogue: cancer treatment in UHC

World Cancer Congress Day 1
Read more

Virtual Dialogue: palliative and survivorship care in UHC

World Cancer Congress Day 1
Read more
World Cancer Congress Day 1

As part of the preparations for the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on UHC, UICC is organising a series of discussions looking at how different aspects of cancer control can be integrated into UHC benefit packages and sharing the inspiring work of UICC members from around the world.  

Last update

Wednesday 06 December 2023

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