Media centre

How the World Health Assembly works

WHO was established to promote health and ease the burden of disease worldwide. The Organization takes direction for its goals and priorities from the 194 Member States it is designed to serve. Each year, senior health officials from Member States come to Geneva to participate in the World Health Assembly. It is at the Health Assembly that WHO's work is reviewed, new goals are set, and new tasks assigned.

Each year the World Health Assembly has a long and complex list of health challenges and responses to review.

The process at the annual World Health Assembly

At the Health Assembly 2 main types of meetings are held, each with a different purpose:

  • Committees meet to debate technical and health matters (Committee A), and financial and management issues (Committee B), and approve the texts of resolutions, which are then submitted to the plenary meeting.
  • Plenary is the meeting of all delegates to the World Health Assembly. The Health Assembly meets in plenary several times in order to listen to reports and adopt the resolutions transmitted by the committees. The Director-General and Member States also address the delegates at the plenary.

In addition, technical briefings are organized separately on specific public health topics to present new developments in the area, provide a forum for debate and to allow for information sharing.