About WHO

Governance: A changing public health landscape

The global public health landscape has changed dramatically since WHO was established in 1948.

While governments are obviously our main partners, our collaboration and coordination with other stakeholders ensures we reach common goals that contribute to improving the health and lives of millions.

Early in the reform it became clear that our current policies needed to be revised to ensure efficient working relations with stakeholders in public health, promote complementarity between different actors, and manage potential conflict of interests.

In consultation with key stakeholders, we are developing three engagement policies: WHO’s hosting arrangements with partnerships, engagement with NGOs, and relationships with private commercial entities.

The draft policies will be discussed in the EB132 in January 2013 and EB133 in May 2013.

In October 2012 we held a consultation with nongovernmental organizations.

Voices from the NGO consultation

“Given the importance of patient empowerment and the rights-based approach in global health, there is a clear need for WHO to better include the perspective and voice of civil society.”
Union for International Cancer Control and World Health Federation

“We recommend that engagement between WHO and civil society is based on the principles of reciprocity, responsibility, transparency, collaboration and mutual trust and understanding.”
International Diabetes Federation (IDF)

“From a field perspective, if it is essential to have medical rules, regulations and due procedure followed, it is as essential as to have concrete actions and presence in the medical and humanitarian responses. WHO has an important role and responsibility to play, making sure that adequate medical policies but also efficient medical actions are in place."
Médecins sans frontières (MSF)