Media centre

Election of WHO Director-General

Guidelines and information for media

The election of the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General will take place in Geneva next week, from 6 to 9 November 2006. There will be two separate meetings in two separate venues. Below, journalists can find practical information relating to accreditation, access to meetings, and news conference, photo and broadcast opportunities.

The WHO Executive Board (EB) will meet from 6 to 8 November at WHO Headquarters and will nominate a person for the post of Director-General. Journalists will be able to listen to proceedings during the public sessions, which include the short opening session on the morning of 6 November, the late-afternoon session on 6 November when a short-list of five candidates is announced, and the closing session on 8 November when the name of the person nominated for the post will be made public. Otherwise, the EB will conduct proceedings related to the nomination in a session which is open only to Members of the Board and one representative of each Member State. Journalists will not be allowed in the Executive Board room.

On 9 November 2006, the World Health Assembly will meet at the United Nations Palais des Nations Assembly Hall for a special session. The Health Assembly will consider the nomination of the Director-General at a private meeting and will come to a decision on the appointment of the next Director-General through a secret ballot. The Assembly will also have to take a decision on the term of office and the contract of the next Director-General. Journalists will be able to follow the public sessions of the Assembly from the media gallery (on the 2nd balcony). These include the opening of the session in the morning and the closing of the meeting when the successful candidate will be publicly announced and will make a speech.

Media Accreditation procedures

Correspondents wishing to cover the Executive Board from 6-8 November must apply to the Communications Department at the World Health Organization. To do this, journalists should send a fax (+41 22 791 4858) or email ( requesting accreditation, along with a letter signed by their editor indicating the reason for accreditation, the dates for which accreditation is required and a photocopy of media credentials. Accreditation badges will be available to journalists at the reception of WHO during the afternoon of Sunday 5 November from 16.00hrs to 17.30hrs and on Monday 6 November from 08.00hrs.

Correspondents wishing to cover the World Health Assembly on 9 November must apply to the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This must include a letter signed by their editor indicating the reason for accreditation, a photocopy of media credentials and passport. Journalists can call +41 22 917 2313, or +41 22 917 2336, or email Catherine Fegli ( for more information. To facilitate the accreditation process, journalists are strongly encouraged to apply early. Once these documents have been approved by DPI, journalists can collect their accreditation at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, at the Prégny gate (in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross).

Facilities for Media - WHO

During 6-8 November, journalists will have access to a conference room at WHO in Headquarters from which they will be able to monitor, by video conference, the public sessions. News material, news conferences and other announcements will be made available in this room on an on-going basis throughout the meeting.

Facilities for Media - UN Palais des Nations

During the Assembly on 9 November, WHO will organize press conferences at Press Room III (near Gate 6). To avoid access problems, journalists must wear their accreditation badges visibly. Press conferences will be announced via the loudspeaker system and will be posted on a notice board situated in Press Room I (near Gate 6). Important documents, news releases, the scheduling of news conferences and briefings, and other items of interest to correspondents will also be available in Press Room I.


Information on the WHO Photo Service for media can be obtained from Chris Black, email, Tel. +41 22 791 1460 or mobile: +41 79 472 6054.

Video for Broadcasters

For information on taping of events in the Assembly Hall, taping of interviews for broadcast TV and the feedpoint to EBU Geneva through WHO TV Studios or UNTV Geneva, please contact Jean-Marc Glinz, email: Tel.: +41 22 791 3924 or mobile: +41 79 475 5515.

Please note that:

  • WHO will only provide tapes for broadcasters (in Betacam SP PAL)
  • To reserve a live link from EBU Geneva to the final destination, please contact EBU planning at +41 22 717 2900 or send email to

General information for photo & television correspondents

  • WHO requests that photo journalists respect the rules set out by Security and Protocol Officers at the Executive Board and World Health 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.
  • Due to space limitations, access to the floor of the EB and WHA during public sessions will be limited and a pool situation for video and photographs will likely be in effect.

For more information contact:

WHO Media centre
Telephone: +41 22 791 2222

Christine McNab
Acting-Director, WHO Communications Department
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 6815

Iain Simpson
Team leader, News and Advocacy
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 3215

Fadéla Chaib
Communications Officer
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3228
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5556

For audiovisual requests:

Jean-Marc Glinz
Telephone: +41 22 791 3924
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5515

Chris Black
Telephone: +41 22 791 1460
Mobile phone: +41 79 472 6054