About WHO

WHO reform milestones

Some important milestones of the WHO reform process

  • November 2015

    Innovative ideas for more interactivity

    At the biennial meeting of the heads of WHO Offices, leaders agreed tangible action items that will play a major role in strengthening our work at country level. The actions address the implications of the Sustainable Development Goals, improving our response to outbreaks and public health emergencies, and organizational accountability for results. Ensuring a coordinated approach across the 3 levels of the organization will be crucial.

  • November 2015

    An open discussion with and between WHO’s contributors

    The financing dialogue, 5–6 November 2015, brought together Member States and non-State contributors for an open discussion about increasing the predictability and alignment of WHO’s financing. Dr Chan announced that WHO will participate in the International Aid Transparency Initiative, a decision that was commended by numerous Member States as a positive move towards better transparency and accountability. The web portal shows a good financial position for 2016–17, however, funding gaps remain for certain programme areas. The funding outlook for 2018–19 is still low and more flexible monies are encouraged.

  • July 2015

    Draft framework of engagement with non-State actors

    An open-ended intergovernmental meeting has been convened to finalize the draft framework of engagement with non-State actors on the basis of progress made during the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly. As part of its governance reform, WHO is revisiting its policies on engagement with non-State actors, including nongovernmental organizations, private sector entities, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions.

  • July 2015

    Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel

    An independent panel of experts led by Dame Barbara Stocking (UK), released the final report that reviews WHO’s response to the Ebola outbreak. The panel made recommendations in three areas: the International Health Regulations (2005), WHO’s health emergency response capacity, and WHO’s role and cooperation with the wider health and humanitarian systems.

  • March 2015

    Launch of accountability framework

    The new framework is designed to support the Organization’s results-based management approach whereby delegated responsibility, authority and accountability exist in a decentralized environment, and to underline its commitment to the shared values and culture of accountability and transparency.

  • March 2015

    New policy on whistleblowing

    A new policy was introduced to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and to ensure that wrongdoings are reported to the ethics office.

  • January 2015

    Good performance matters

    The new performance management framework was implemented to improve the WHO and the individual performance within the organization. It also aims to motivate staff and enable development so they can reach their potential.

  • January 2015

    Geographical mobility and rotation

    Staff rules and regulations were adapted to allow for mobility to start in 2016.

  • January 2015

    Agreement on the strategic allocation of budget space

    The Executive Board endorsed a set of guiding principles for determining the strategic allocation of budget space.

  • January 2015

    Reform on our work in emergencies

    Further to a resolution adopted by the Special Session of the Executive Board in January 2015 and World Health Assembly decision in May 2015, WHO is undertaking a thorough review and reform of its capacities in emergency risk management and response to outbreaks and emergencies with health and humanitarian consequence. These reforms are guided by the report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel and are aligned with the overarching programme of WHO reform.

  • January 2015

    Revised framework for country cooperation strategy (CCS)

    As a part of WHO’s programmatic reform, new guidance provides a framework for closer linkage between priorities identified in country cooperation strategies and the outcomes outlined in WHO strategic and biennial planning. This bottom-up process for capturing country priorities will then inform the biennial process of allocating programme budget and resources.

  • January 2015

    Framework for Strengthening Evaluation and Organizational Learning

    The framework highlights six aspects in relation to strengthening evaluation and organizational learning: building a culture of evaluation, establishing an enabling environment, determining modalities and scope of evaluation, facilitating organizational learning, interrelationships between evaluation and other assessments, and communicating evaluation work and findings.

  • October – November 2014

    Regional committee meetings discuss framework for engagement with non-State actors

    Regional committees discussed the draft framework for engagement with non-State actors alongside follow-up comments from Member States.

  • October 2014


    An e-learning platform was implemented to step up training and development opportunities for staff. It provides face-to-face or online training sessions.

  • September 2014

    Revised policy on declaration of interests for experts

    To ensure the highest standards of integrity and public confidence, a revised policy on declaration of interest was implemented to ensure that anyone serving in an advisory role disclose any circumstances that could give rise to a conflict of interest.

  • August 2014

    Establishment of the evaluation function as an independent office

    The evaluation function, which was formerly within the Department for Internal Oversight Services, was established as an independent office.

  • July 2014

    Administrative and programme reviews

    Review of country office administrative and programme management started, with the aim of identifying ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reform at country level. The reviews provide concrete recommendations for improvement in administration and programme management, which are then followed up by the country and regional offices.

  • July 2014

    Initiation of reform implementation network

    The reform implementation network defines the interface between reform business owners, who are responsible for the development and design of different reform initiatives, and regional focal points, who are responsible for reform implementation in the regions. The implementation network meets on a monthly basis and ensures alignment between the activities of business owners and regional focal points.

  • May 2014

    Submission of a draft framework of engagement with non-State actors to the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly

    WHA67 welcomed the progress made on the draft framework for engagement with non-State actors, but recognized that further contributions and discussions were needed. Member States were invited to submit comments following discussions on the framework.

  • January 2014

    Presentation of an independent evaluation report on reform

    The 2nd Stage independent evaluation report on reform was presented to the 134th Session of the Executive Board, through the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee.

  • January 2014

    Revised human resources strategy

    The revised human resources strategy was noted by 134th Session of the Executive Board. Human resources is a priority area for reform in 2014-15.

  • January 2014

    Internal control framework

    Compliance and control mechanisms at all levels of the Organization have been integrated into a comprehensive and coherent internal control framework, which was discussed by 134th Session of the Executive Board.

  • November 2013

    Seventh global meeting of Heads of WHO offices in countries

    Inputs on the challenges and possible strategies for advancing WHO reform at country level were gathered.

  • October 2013

    Establishment of the Office of Compliance, Risk Management & Ethics

    This office advises management and staff on how to identify, mitigate and monitor organization-wide risks and compliance gaps, and raises awareness of ethical standards.

  • September – October 2013

    Regional committee meetings support new methodology for developing the programme budget

    Regional committee meetings focused on the development of the programme budget, in particular the financing dialogues. Member States supported the new methodology as a means of increasing the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of funding.

  • June and November 2013

    Financing dialogue

    The financing dialogue was agreed in the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly (May 2013), and meetings were held in June and November 2013. Significant progress was made towards the reform goals – to improve the alignment, flexibility, predictability and transparency of WHO’s financing.

  • June 2013

    Programme performance and financing web portal

    Participants of the June Financing Dialogue endorsed a prototype of the web portal in response to Member States’ calls for increased accountability and transparency. The portal is updated quarterly, and provides details on both programme performance and financing.

  • May 2013

    Adoption of the Twelfth General Programme of Work and the proposed programme budget 2014-15 by the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly

    The Twelfth General Programme of Work 2014-19 was adopted and the Proposed Programme Budget for 2014-15 was approved by WHA66 in its entirety for the first time.

  • March 2013

    Taskforce on roles and functions of the three levels of WHO present recommendations to the Global Policy Group (GPG)

    Established in 2012, the Taskforce on roles and functions was chaired by the regional directors of Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean regional offices. Its recommendations were presented to the Global Policy Group, and agreement was reached on a framework for overarching roles and functions at each of the the three levels of the Organization.

  • January 2013

    Presentation of key reform documents and tools

    The WHO reform report, high level implementation plan and online tool to monitor the status of reform implementation were presented to the 132nd Session of the Executive Board for discussion. The draft Twelfth General Programme of Work and proposed Programme Budget were also at the centre of discussions.

  • December 2012

    Recommendations to improve the quality of WHO financing

    In a special session, the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee recommended that the entire proposed programme budget 2014-15 be approved by the World Health Assembly, and not only Assessed Contributions. Additionally, they recommended that a financing dialogue be established to finance the budget and to explore ways to broaden the donor base.

  • August – October 2012

    Regional committee meetings discuss the Draft Twelfth General Programme of Work

    Member States discussed the draft Twelfth General Programme of Work and proposed programme budget 2014-15.

  • May 2012

    Key reforms endorsed by the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly

    The Director-General presented a WHO reform consolidated report to WHA65, as well as the draft outline of the Twelfth General Programme of Work, stage one evaluation report and the draft implementation framework.

  • February 2012

    Member States meeting and consultation with NGOs on programmes & priority setting

    A two-day meeting, open to all Member States, took place in Geneva where the categories of work and the criteria for setting priorities for WHO’s work were discussed and agreed upon. In addition, in line with the decision of the Executive Board on November 2011, a web-based consultation for NGOs on programmes & priority setting also took place.

  • January 2012

    Preparation of a report covering all aspects of reform

    The 130th Session of the Executive Board considered nine papers on reform, and requested WHO to prepare a consolidated report covering all reform aspects to be submitted to the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly.

  • November 2011

    Special Session of the Executive Board: moving forward with reform

    Around 100 Member States attended a 3-day special session of the Executive Board. The Board outlined key elements in each of the three areas, where it would like to take reform forward. The Board agreed upon and provided detailed mandates relating to each of the principles of reform.

  • August – October 2011

    Regional committee meetings discuss reform

    Member States discussed concept papers on governance and independent evaluation.

  • July – September 2011

    Member States consultation with the Geneva based missions

    Member States were informed about the reform process and their input was collected.

  • May 2011

    Member States endorse the overall direction of reform

    The Director-General of WHO presented the consolidated report entitled The Future of Financing for WHO to the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly. Member States passed a resolution endorsing the overall direction of reform, and established reform as a Member State driven process.

  • January 2011

    Development of the three components of reform

    Development of the three major components of reform (programmatic, governance and managerial) took place at the 128th Session of the Executive Board. These remain the organizing framework for the process to date.

  • April – October 2010

    Web based consultation with WHO Member States

    A web based consultation solicited the views of all WHO Member States and stakeholders on the future of financing for WHO.

  • January 2010

    Beginning the reform journey

    An informal consultation on the future of financing for WHO was convened by WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. It brought together senior officials and ministries of health, development co-operation, finance and foreign affairs. Although the starting point was a discussion on financing of WHO, participants were to raise more fundamental questions about the role of WHO in a rapidly changing environment, beginning the reform journey.