About WHO

The role of WHO in public health

WHO fulfils its objectives through its core functions:

  • providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
  • shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
  • setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
  • articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
  • providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and
  • monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

These core functions are set out in the Twelfth General Programme of Work, which provides the framework for organization-wide programme of work, budget, resources and results. Entitled "Not merely the absence of disease", it covers the 6-year period from 2014 to 2019.

Related information

What WHO does: bringing health to life

Corporate information