Ultraviolet radiation (UV)

Global Solar UV Index

A joint recommendation of the World Health Organization, World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection

UV Index cover

Publication details

Number of pages: 32
Publication date: 2002
Languages: French, Spanish, English
ISBN: 9241590076
WHO reference number: WHO/SDE/OEH/02.2



The Global Solar UV Index (UVI) described in this document is a simple measure of the UV radiation level at the Earth’s surface and an indicator of the potential for skin damage. It serves as an important vehicle to raise public awareness and to alert people about the need to adopt protective measures when exposed to UV radiation.

The UVI was developed through an international effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS).

This practical guide is intended to be used by national and local authorities and non-governmental organizations active in the area of skin cancer prevention, as well as meteorological offices and media outlets involved with UVI reporting.This publication can serve as an entry point for the development and implementation of an integrated public health approach to sun protection and skin cancer prevention.

Downloadable UV Index Graphics

A standard graphic presentation promotes consistency in UVI reporting on news and weather bulletins, and improves people’s understanding of the concept. The INTERSUN programme has developed a graphics package including the UVI logo, an international colour code for different UVI values, and a choice of ready-made graphics for reporting the UVI and the sun protection message. The materials can be downloaded and used free of charge.