ESMO is proud to collaborate at the highest political levels with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) on issues related to cancer prevention and control. ESMO has been supporting and promoting WHO’s global initiatives since 2002, and was recognized for its efforts in 2013 when ESMO was granted ‘official relations status’ by the WHO. Based on this status, WHO invites ESMO to participate in WHO meetings, to provide technical advice on WHO projects, and to make official statements that are delivered to all Member States.
With cancer high on global, European and national agendas, ESMO is uniquely positioned to make the voice of medical oncologists heard across the world.
ESMO regularly attends WHO meetings, as well as UN High-Level Meetings related to cancer. ESMO supported the adoption of many WHO resolutions on topics such as improved access to palliative care, improved access to cancer medicines and vaccines, the need for fair pricing and transparency, the reduction in premature deaths from cancer by 25% by 2025 and by 33% by 2030, and the achievement of universal health coverage. Landmark decisions that ESMO actively supported are the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, the 2018 UN Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), and the 2019 UN Political Declaration on Universal Coverage (UHC). ESMO advocated for the inclusion in these documents of specific actions on cancer, including the need to ensure a core set of cancer and palliative care services in national universal health coverage benefit packages so that no cancer patient is left behind. To implement the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, ESMO is supporting WHO in the development of tools and resources related to optimizing the cancer workforce, scaling-up national cancer control plans, promoting access to essential cancer medicines, and disseminating WHO’s global policy recommendations on cancer prevention and control.