Media centre

57th World Health Assembly guidelines and information for media

The 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place from 17-22 May 2004 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. The WHA is the annual meeting of the World Health Organization's (WHO) 192 Member States. Issues at this WHA include HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, road safety, and the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Keynote speakers are former Presidents Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea and Jimmy Carter of the United States.

The agenda, the daily Journal and other WHA documents can be found at

Accreditation procedures

Correspondents wishing to cover the WHA must be accredited by the office of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. To do this, journalists should send a fax requesting accreditation to + 41 22 917 00 73, along with a letter signed by the editor, indicating the reason for accreditation and the dates for which accreditation is required, a photocopy of media credentials and passport. Once these documents have been received by DPI, journalists can collect their accreditation at the Villa les Feuillantines, 13 avenue de la Paix. This is on a small treed alley between the Place des Nations, and the UN Palais Visitors Entrance (Pregny gate opposite the Red Cross). Journalists can call +41 22 917 2313, or +41 22 917 2336 for more information.

WHO Media Office

During the WHA, documents for journalists will be available at the WHO Media Office on the eighth floor of the Palais des Nations, Room A 843. WHO media and communications staff will be in room C310 and C308. A full list of WHO staff serving the media, their offices, and phone numbers is attached below.

Daily Journal of the World Health Assembly/Press Releases/Other documents

Media materials and official documents will be available in the WHO media office and in UN Press Room I. The daily Journal of the WHA contains the day's agenda. Note that schedules and locations are subject to change. The daily Journal and all WHA documentation will also be available online at in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Media Announcements

Announcements will be made in the UN Press Room of the Palais des Nations via the loudspeaker system regarding the issuance of important documents and press releases, the scheduling of press conferences and briefings, and other items of interest to correspondents.

WHO Director-General's Speech

Dr LEE Jong-wook is scheduled to address the Assembly on the afternoon of Monday, 17 May. Copies of his speech will be available for the media in Press Room I on Monday morning, embargoed until and to be checked against delivery.

Advance texts: materials under embargo

Some texts of other speeches, statements and other materials will be issued under embargo. Please respect the release date and hour indicated.

Access to meetings

Most WHA meetings are open to the media and can be covered from specially designated press areas. Correspondents should consult the daily Journal of the World Health Assembly for information on whether meetings are "open" or "closed".

To avoid access problems, journalists must wear their accreditation badges visibly.

Correspondents may enter the floor of the Assembly Hall and committee rooms only before or after meetings, but must leave promptly when the meeting is about to begin.

**Under no circumstances are correspondents allowed to stay on the floor of the Assembly Hall when meetings are taking place**


Information on the WHO Photo Service can be obtained from Mr Pierre Virot, WHO HQ 240, Tel. +41 22 791 25 37 or +41 79 354 82 12.

Video for Broadcasters

Taping of interviews for broadcast TV can be arranged through Jean-Marc Glinz, Office A 388, Tel. +41 22 917 69 45 or +41 79 475 55 15; email: WHO will only provide Betacam SP PAL tapes for broadcasters, including some video coverage of the WHA plenary sessions. A feedpoint to EBU Geneva trough UNTV Geneva will also be available through this office. To reserve a link from EBU Geneva to the final destination, please contact EBU planning +41 22 717 27 90 or

General information for photo & television correspondents

  • WHO requests that photo journalists respect the rules set out by Security and Protocol Officers at the Assembly. Flash units may be used, but photographers are encouraged to use telephoto lenses and avoid grouping around speakers so as not to disturb their work.
  • Filming and videotaping of the WHA is limited to news, documentary and educational coverage of the meetings. Accredited photo and television correspondents may cover all "open" meetings of the Assembly and move around freely on the floor of the Assembly Hall and the main committee rooms before a meeting is called to order, but must leave promptly when the meeting is about to begin.
  • Photographers and camera crews are NOT allowed on the podium in any of the meeting rooms, including the Assembly Hall. Correspondents are reminded that it is important to avoid congestion near the podium, especially during debates.

Contact information