About WHO


WHOs policy on partnerships provides a framework to guide the organization in its assessment of and decision concerning potential engagement in different types of health partnerships (A63/44 and A63/44 corr. 1). It also provides specific parameters (criteria) to be applied in cases where WHO agrees to host a formal partnership.

The term partnerships is used to include various organizational structures, relationships and arrangements within and external to WHO to enhance collaboration to achieve better health outcomes. These structures range from legally incorporated entities with their own governance to simpler collaborations with a variety of stakeholders. Terms such as “partnership”, “alliance”, “network”, “programme”, “project collaboration”, “joint campaigns,” and “task force” may be used to refer to these partnerships.

Hosted partnerships

In hosting a partnership, WHO lends its administrative, fiduciary and legal framework to the partnership secretariat. These partnerships derive their legal status from WHO and are subject to the Organization’s Rules and Regulations. They have a formal governance structure, separate from that of the WHO governing bodies. Their programmatic accountability frameworks are also independent from those of WHO. WHO-hosted partnerships have not been established by WHO governing bodies.

Hosted partnerships are formal partnerships. Formal partnerships are those with or without a separate legal personality but with a governance structure that takes decisions on direction, work plans and budgets. WHO currently serves as the host organization for six formal partnerships which have not been established as legal entities: Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM); Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH); the Alliance for Health Policy and System Research (AHPSR); the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA); the International Drug Purchase Facility (UNITAID) and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

Other WHO hosted entities

Other hosted entities are entities which are administratively hosted within WHO. They include United Nations Inter-Agency programmes (for example UNAIDS), inter-organizational facilities (United Nations International Computing Centre - UNICC), secretariats hosted in WHO pursuant to an international convention such as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and WHO co-sponsored programmes (Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases - TDR, Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction - HRP, African Programme of Onchocerciasis Control - APOC and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative - GPEI).

Partnerships and collaborative arrangements

WHO is involved in a large number of other partnerships and collaborative arrangements. The following document provides an overview of these partnerships and collaborative arrangements and WHO’s role in them.