WHO Moves Ahead with Reform Agenda

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by: Jean-Marc Ferré / UN

The World Health Organization’s executive board has given its full support to the reform measures proposed by Director-General Margaret Chan and WHO member states.

The executive board met for three days ending Nov. 3 in Geneva. It stressed the intergovernmental nature of the organization as well as its unique mandate as lead authority on global public health.

>> WHO Executive Board Deliberates Reforms

“Our discussions have been positive,” said Rahhal El Makkaoui, chairman of the WHO executive board, in a Nov. 4 news release. “These are ambitious reforms, designed to build on the organization’s already strong foundations and better equip it to respond to public health challenges in the 21st century.”

The reforms are:

  • Developing criteria for setting priorities of WHO’s work in global public health.

  • Engaging a growing number of public health actors, including foundations, civil society groups, partnerships and the private sector.

  • Setting up a contingency fund for WHO’s efforts in public health emergencies.

  • Creating a tightly networked, leaner and streamlined organization by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of WHO country offices, regional offices and headquarters.

  • Formulating an approach to independent evaluation.

The board has given Chan the authority to implement some of the reforms immediately and has asked her to submit a report on the results as early as January 2012.

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  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.