Our world is challenged by a changing climate, violent conflict, persistent poverty and mass migration. The benefits of globalization and new technologies remain unequally shared. As a result, people face an ever-growing avalanche of threats to their health. I have worked on such issues for over 40 years. As I see it, the need for a robust, reliable and responsive World Health Organization has never been more urgent.

All my professional life I have been working in public health - as a community-based practitioner, educator, public servant, director, diplomat and coordinator. In the past 12 years, successive Secretaries-General of the United Nations have entrusted me to lead collective action on pressing and complex challenges – responding to avian and pandemic influenza, promoting food security, ending malnutrition, combating Ebola, promoting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing efforts relating to climate change.

I want to be sure that WHO is in a position to be the undisputed leader on all health issues. WHO must constantly strive for excellence in people’s health and health systems everywhere. WHO should, through its Member States and collaborating centres, nurture fullest attainment of people’s health in all communities. WHO’s performance should lead it to be recognized as the world’s specialized agency for health, earning and maintaining trust of governments, communities and people.

David Nabarro