International Development Law Organization

IDLO and WHO “Walk the Talk” for right to health

20 May 2019

On a rainy Sunday morning in Geneva, IDLO’s Director-General Irene Khan and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) completed the Walk the Talk Challenge 2019 alongside the First Lady of Kenya, Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, and champion long distance and marathon runners Mary Keitany and Tadesse Abraham.

The annual initiative brings international actors and local community members together to promote healthy lifestyles for all through physical activity.

After crossing the finish line, Ms. Khan and Dr. Tedros signed a cooperation agreement to expand the IDLO-WHO partnership promoting the right to health through the rule of law.

The new agreement builds on previous collaboration between the two organizations to ensure greater access to health services through good policies, regulation, and legislation that prohibits discrimination.

IDLO Director-General Irene Khan and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sign the new agreement

IDLO and WHO are currently implementing a program aimed at preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by building the capacity of developing countries to promote healthy diets and physical activity.

“When you talk about NCDs, the rule of law is the last thing that comes to your mind,” said Director-General Khan. “That is understandable because for years we have looked at NCDs only through the lens of public health. But today, as we take a multi-dimensional approach, we need multi-dimensional solutions based on rights, access to justice and the rule of law.”

The new IDLO-WHO agreement envisages further collaboration to promote Universal Health Coverage and health security, reduce communicable and non-communicable diseases, and foster non-discrimination in access to health services. IDLO and WHO will also continue to collaborate in public health law research and publications.

"Our new close cooperation with IDLO will help countries reform and strengthen legal institutions so they protect the right to health," stated Dr. Tedros. "This is key to fulfilling WHO’s mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable."

Invoking Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Ms. Khan added, “IDLO places the highest value on its collaboration with Dr. Tedros and WHO to ensure the rule of law plays its proper role in promoting health so no one is left behind. This new agreement strengthens and expands IDLO’s already solid partnership with WHO to help make justice for all and well-being a reality in people’s lives.”