About WHO

In brief

MOPAN assesses WHO in 2013

The 2010 Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) reviewed WHO’s organizational effectiveness, and found that WHO had made progress with results based management, the Global Management System and adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards. In other areas, including human resources, resource allocation and budgeting, the assessment pointed to the need for improvements.

The 2013 MOPAN assessment will again look at effectiveness based on WHO reform. MOPAN is a network of 17 donor countries with a common interest in assessing the organizational effectiveness of the multilateral organizations they fund.

How much should WHO spend on administration and management?

Effective management and efficient administration are critical needs in any large organization, and require significant resources. However, low administration and management costs do not necessarily signify greater efficiency; on the contrary, lowering costs may reduce performance.

This is one of the conclusions of a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) study on administration and management (A&M) costs commissioned by the PBAC and presented as an interim report to their meeting in January. PWC emphasised that A&M costs largely depend on the type of organization; knowledge-based organizations - like WHO - tend to spend proportionately more on A&M than organizations with large infrastructure investments, such as transport. The PBAC asked WHO to continue the work and present a final report to the EB in May.

UN JIU recommendations taken on board

At the request of the Executive Board, the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) recently updated two milestone reports from 1998 and 2003 on administration and decentralization in WHO, and presented these to the Executive Board. The JIU confirmed that the proposals for reform are heading in the right direction, and made a series of recommendations to the Governing Bodies and the WHO secretariat.

These recommendations - which cover a wide range of topics, including organizational structures, country support, human resources, financing and resource allocation, the GSM and the Global Service Centre, building management, communications and access to information, and evaluation – are incorporated into the WHO Reform Implementation Plan and can be tracked on-line.

Chatham House: The role of WHO in the international system

How can WHO find its place in the new and more crowded institutional landscape for health, and how should it strike a balance between its core functions? Is WHO principally a normative, standard-setting agency, or a provider of technical assistance to governments? These are some of the questions posed in the first paper in a new series from Chatham House.

The paper sets out a number of challenges that WHO has faced since its foundation in 1948. It then goes on to identify a number of recurrent themes as it traces the history of reform - from early efforts between 1989-98, through the Brundtland years (1998-2003), leading up to the current reform programme that began in 2010.