By definition, a WHO collaborating centre is an institution designated by the Director-General of WHO to form part of an international collaborative network set up by WHO in support of its programme at the country, intercountry, regional, interregional and global levels. In line with the WHO policy and strategy of technical cooperation, a WHO collaborating centre also participates in the strengthening of country resources, in terms of information, services, research and training, in support of national health development.
Designation is made with the agreement of the head of the establishment to which the institution is attached or with that of the director of the institution, if it is independent, and after consultation with the national government. An institution is designated initially for a term of four years; the designation may be renewed for the same or a shorter period.
Designation is independent of financial support being given to the institution by WHO. Grants may be made to any institution that is able to perform a specific task connected with WHO's programme but this has no relevance to the eligibility or ineligibility of an institution for designation.
Not eligible for designation as WHO collaborating centres are, for example, networks, working groups, partnerships and programmes; or nongovernmental organizations and similar bodies with a membership structure, including professional associations or foundations. For collaboration with nongovernmental organizations, please refer to the Principles governing relations between WHO and Nongovernmental organizations contained in the Basic Documents.