WHO is reforming to be better equipped to address the increasingly complex challenges of health in the 21st century. From persisting problems to new and emerging public health threats, WHO needs the capability and flexibility to respond to this evolving environment.
Reform has three aims: programmatic reform to improve people’s health; governance reform to increase coherence in global health and managerial reform in pursuit of organizational excellence.
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Increased alignment of strategic planning with country priorities
During 2016–2017, 66% of country office budget centres were linked with 10 priority programme areas. A significant improvement has been made in the development of the programme budget for 2018–2019: 75% of country budget centres allocated at least 80% of their budget to the prioritized areas. As a result of 2015 guidance, priorities identified in country cooperation strategies are more closely linked with the outcomes of WHO strategic and biennial planning.
Geographic mobility: the voluntary phase has started with a first pilot
The new mobility policy is being implemented in a phased manner to test the procedures designed to support the policy. A first compendium issued in January 2016 led to a higher than usual number of moves between major offices. The data for the first half of 2016 show a 30% increase in the number of staff moving between major offices compared with 2015, where 2.6% of international staff moved between regions or between headquarters and a region. One objective of the managed mobility scheme is to improve cross-fertilization and moves among regions and between headquarters and regions.
Engagement with non-state actors: adoption of the framework
The WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) was adopted after two years of intergovernmental negotiations. Implementation will include reviewing official relations with non-State actors and WHO’s engagement, based on a register of non-State actors. Engagement is a key aspect of WHO’s role in global health governance and non-State actors play a critical part in supporting WHO’s work to fulfil its constitutional mandate.
Strengthening the agenda for governing body meetings
Following the recommendations of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Meeting on Governance Reform, and the subsequent decision taken by the Health Assembly in May 2016, work is underway to develop a forward looking schedule for the agenda of the Board and the Health Assembly, and to strengthen agenda management.