Qatar, April 10, 2017
Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Dr David Nabarro, has said that Qatar National Vision 2030 was in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr David Nabarro, UK’s nominated candidate for the post of Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), is on his election campaign visit to Doha. “Like other countries in the region, Qatar is developing incredibly very quickly but there is something very special about Qatar’s development and that is its focus on social development,” he said while talking to The Peninsula.
He lauded Qatar’s ‘strong-focus’ on sectors like health and education. “Social development and environmental development are on the agenda of Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar’s focus on sustainability is very pronounced,” he added.
Dr Nabarro said that Qatar was making real efforts to develop a health strategy which was modern and equitable. “It ensures that everybody gets health care facility and also focuses on non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiac diseases etc.,” he said, adding that Qatar’s focus on health rather than illness was a very good approach.
He said that Qatar’s health care system was also paying special attention towards women, elderly people and disabled persons. He praised Qatar’s health minister’s vision and efforts in this regard.
To a question about the pace of world nations in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Nabarro said that at the global level agreements were being made and signed while the countries were also committed to taking actions accordingly.
“Now countries are not going to go backward from commitments and there is no turning back from de-carbonized development to counter the climate change,” he added.
He said that Qatar was fully committed to countering climate change and was implementing a whole spectrum of SDGs. “The development philosophy of Qatar indeed covers all 17 goals of Sustainable Development,” he noted. He said that though Qatar was small in size, it was a country of influence in the region and the world.
On Qatar’s humanitarian efforts, Dr Nabarro said that Qatar was a major contributor to global humanitarian initiatives. “Qatar also takes the humanitarian moves very seriously and checks carefully that money is being spent well,” he said. He said that Qatar’s approach in resolving regional conflicts through mediation was also very mature though it was very difficult task to do.
When asked about the challenges currently being faced by WHO, he said that they were numerous like infectious diseases, spread of lifestyle-related diseases, running health services efficiently etc.
“Due to growing microbial resistance to antibiotics, we should always be ready for new infections. We are already struggling against yellow fever, Zika virus, dengue, cholera, Ebola, leprosy and influenza. We have to fight against them at the local, regional and global levels,” he said.
Dr Nabarro said that new epidemics related to lifestyle like diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory infections due to smoking and mental illnesses like depression, cancer were another big challenge that needed to be addressed.
How to run health services, he said, was the third challenge for him to counter. “Organisational management of health care sector is very vital and WHO has to set new standards and give guidance to governments, development banks, NGOs etc.” he said.
“Health is inextricably linked with the three pillars on which the United Nations was founded: peace and security, human rights and development. As a specialised agency within the UN system, the World Health Organization has a vital role to play,” he said while sharing his vision on the WHO.
To a question on medical errors and patient safety, Dr Nabarro said that adoption of impeccable systematic procedures was needed to address that problem.
He said that during his campaign in Qatar he had received fabulous response from Qatari authorities who ‘appreciated my candidature’ but “Qatar is still in the process of evaluating other candidates for this post”.
For over 40 years Dr Nabarro has served in International Public Health as a practitioner in communities, as an educator, as an international public servant and as a diplomat.
In the past decade, he has been appointed by successive Secretaries-General of the United Nations to manage the most complex and urgent challenges of our time.
These include ending malnutrition, promoting food security, combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, generating global momentum for sustainable development and advancing international action on climate change. Presently he advises the UN Global Health Crisis Task Force and leads the UN response to Cholera in Haiti.