“On Monday, May 31, 2021, the World Health Assembly has adopted by consensus, the Resolution Participation of the Holy See in the World Health Organization (WHO) presented by Italy, with which the participation of the Holy See in the work of the World Health Organization, as an observer non-member state, ”the Holy See Press Office reported in a statement.
This decision, “expresses the relationship that the Holy See maintains in a continuous way with this Organization since 1953, and testifies to the commitment of the family of nations to face, through dialogue and international solidarity, the global challenges of the health that afflict humanity,” the text reads.
According to Vatican News in Italian, as of 1953 the Holy See began to participate in the sessions of the World Health Assembly as an ad casum observer , following special invitations from the Director General of the WHO. The Holy See has also been regularly invited to the meetings of the governing bodies of the organization.
Recognition to the Holy See
The resolution on the participation of the Holy See in the World Health Organization, presented by Italy, was adopted by consensus by the World Health Assembly. It is co-sponsored by 71 countries from all geographical areas of the world: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica , Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Eswatini, Philippines, Georgia, Germany, Japan, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, Romania, San Marino,
According to a note from the Italian government, it is a recognition of the important role that the Holy See plays in the humanitarian and health field, especially in developing countries and, more recently, in the fight against the coronavirus . In this regard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi di Maio declared: “I am convinced that the Holy See, which has been providing aid through the organizations of the Catholic Church for years to millions of people in need around the world, will provide valuable added to the World Health Organization and will further reinforce the spirit of global solidarity. It will be of great inspiration to all Member States ”.