Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

International Health Regulations (2005)
Third edition

The 3rd edition of the International Health Regulations (2005) is now available. This edition includes the text of World Health Assembly resolution WHA58.3, the amended version of Annex 7 concerning period of protection of vaccination against yellow fever, and validity of related certificates that entered into force on 11 July 2016, the Health Part of the Aircraft General Declaration that entered into force on 15 July 2007, and appendices containing an updated list of States Parties and State Party reservations and other communications in connection with the IHR (2005).

IHR Committees

Yellow fever vaccination, Angola

19 May 2016 – The first WHO convened Emergency Committee on yellow fever has met in response to the ongoing outbreak of the disease in central Africa. While not considering the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the Committee emphasized the serious national and international risks posed by urban yellow fever outbreaks and offered advice on immediate actions to be taken.

Core functions of the IHR

<b>Prevent<b/><br />Build capacity in countries to minimize disease and prevent the escalation of public health emergencies.<br /><br /><b>Detect<b/><br />Gather and analyze public health data to rapidly detect health security risks as they develop.<br /><br /><b>Inform<b/><br />Keep stakeholders informed with essential facts about public health events that affect them, and report public health risks to WHO.<br /><br /><b>Respond<b/><br />Protect public health by responding with actions and resources where and when they are needed.<br /><br /><b>Facilitate<b/><br />Coordinate WHO's work with partners so that together we can help countries build capacity for health security.

In today’s connected world, health security is a global issue. We must all protect ourselves, and each other, from threats like infectious diseases, chemical and radiological events.
That is why 196 countries have agreed to work together to prevent and respond to public health crises. The agreement is called the International Health Regulations, or IHR (2005), and WHO plays the coordinating role. Through the IHR, WHO keeps countries informed about public health risks, and works with partners to help countries build capacity to detect, report and respond to public health events.


Interactive session during the first IHR implementation course.

Strengthening the competencies, including the knowledge and skills, of public health personnel is critical to the sustainment of public health surveillance and response at all levels of the health system and the effective implementation of the IHR.

WHO provides leadership and contributes to building the capacity of public health professionals working on the implementation of the IHR; it has fostered the development and offers a variety of learning solutions, including training activities, materials and tools, tailored to specific needs of public health workers and partner institutions.

In focus


  • 27-29 June 2016
    Bali, Indonesia

    High-level stakeholders meeting on advancing global health security

    WHO, Headquarters and the WHO Regional Office for South East Asia are jointly convening a High-level Stakeholders Meeting on Advancing Global Health Security from 27 to 29 June 2016 in Bali, Indonesia.

    This meeting follows on the high-level WHO meeting, Building Health Security Beyond Ebola, that took place in July 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa to encourage countries to work cooperatively – with each other, and with WHO and partners – to strengthen preparedness for disease outbreaks in West Africa and, in the longer term, to expand preparedness into other countries and regions. In Cape Town, Member States and partners called for WHO to take the lead in the coordination of global health security work, to provide a road map for this work, and to develop a tool for donor and partner coordination.

    A year has passed since the Cape Town meeting, and the world is facing new epidemic threats. Global health security preparedness remains essential, building country core capacities is critical, and implementing the International Health Regulations (IHR) is key. The most vulnerable, low capacity countries are of the highest priority.

    The objectives of the Bali meeting are to:
    • align country, partner and WHO efforts around a unifying and multisectoral preparedness framework that sets the way forward through harmonized technical, financing, and evaluation benchmarks.
    • provide feedback on the results of recent joint assessments and evaluations, and share best practices in translating these into actionable and measurable outcomes.
    • encourage further actions from Member States and partners to provide sustained international and domestic investment in preparedness.

IHR national capacities

All States Parties are required to have or to develop minimum core public health capacities to implement the IHR (2005) effective in accordance with articles 5 and 13 of the IHR (2005).