On July 18, the Boao Forum for Asia held a press briefing in Beijing, where the BFA announced to schedule the inaugural Global Health Forum in January 2019. The briefing was attended by nearly 150 people, including Li Baodong, BFA Secretary General, Margaret Chan, President of the Global Health Forum and Honorary Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as representatives from the National Health Commission, the State Medical Insurance Administration, the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Wuhan Municipal Government and other government bodies. Participants also included Ettore Francesco Sequi, the Italian Ambassador to China, Ahcene Boukhelfa, the Algerian Ambassador to China, Gauden Galea, WHO Representative in China, China-based representatives of other national and international organizations, as well as representatives of trade associations, companies and media organizations, such as People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CCTV and Phoenix TV.
Li Baodong said that since its inception in 2001, the BFA has been focused on Asia with a global perspective, committed to promoting regional openness and innovation as well as enhancing the wellbeing of Asian people. Particularly, the keynote speech delivered by President Xi Jinping at the BFA annual conference this past April shows the way forward for the BFA. Therefore, the new leadership of the BFA, while sticking to the themes of annual conferences and considering regional economic characteristics, has decided to focus on the five development priorities of high technology, health, education, culture and media. In view of health as an integral part of building a community with a shared future for mankind, an important driver for a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economy, and a safeguard for world peace and stability, the BFA has decided to capitalize on its strengths and resources to create the Global Health Forum as a comprehensive platform for high-level dialogue and cooperation between political and business leaders. The forum will first convene from January 10 to 11, 2019 in one of Chinese cities. To ensure its success, the BFA has set up an experienced preparatory team and invited Margaret Chan as President of the Global Health Forum.
At the briefing, Margaret Chan highlighted the relevance of health—as an important component of global governance—to national security, economic development and people’s wellbeing. She also acknowledged the grave challenges facing global health as well as the long journey towards the goal of achieving health for all. Today, the health sector is experiencing a boom as well as the rise of new concepts and new business models, which offers new drivers for international health cooperation. Therefore, around the theme of “Internet+ New Era: Health for All People,” the Global Health Forum will have three sub-themes on “Health for All—Universal Health Coverage,” “Innovation for Health,” and “Health in All Policies.” The forum will invite government members of the WHO, international health organizations, NGOs, leading companies, scientists and experts from renowned institutions and relevant industries. The forum will produce insightful documents that will be shared with governments for reference. She also welcomed suggestions and support for a successful meeting.
Li Baodong and Margaret Chan also answered questions from journalists, including ones about the future goals of the BFA, the differences between the Global Health Forum and other relevant forums, and whether the forum will be held annually.