Expert advisory panels and committees
Efficiency, as well as economy, makes it necessary to limit the number of experts participating in discussions on any given subject; on the other hand, it is difficult, in a small group of experts, to obtain adequate representation of the various branches of knowledge which bear upon its subject, and of the diversified forms of local experience and trends of thought prevailing in the various parts of the world.
These apparently conflicting requirements may be reconciled by giving expert committees, whenever desirable, flexible membership. This may be done by setting up advisory panels of experts conversant with all the required branches of knowledge and forms of experience needed to cover adequately a particular subject and providing adequate geographical representation. From these panels will be drawn the members of the expert committees, selection being made according to the agenda of each meeting.
Membership of the 47 expert advisory panels totalled 804 in December 2012. In terms of regional distribution, 12% of panel members come from the African Region, 22% from the Region of the Americas, 11% from South-East Asia Region, 32% from the European Region, 10% from the Eastern Mediterranean Region and 13% from the Western Pacific Region. Of the total number of all panel members, 28% are women.
Expert committees meeting regularly:
WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardization (ECBS)
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
WHO Expert Committee on Specifications for Pharmaceutical Preparations
WHO Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines
WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence