About WHO

Partnerships

Global health partnerships, networks and alliances, and initiatives have been established to raise visibility of an unmet need, support coordination, provide financial support to countries, and/or provide common platforms for working together by combining the relative strengths of different stakeholders including the public sector, private sector entities, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions.

WHO's Policy on Engagement with Global Health Partnerships and Hosting Arrangements, endorsed by the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA63.10, provides a framework to guide WHO’s assessment of, and decision concerning, potential engagement in different types of health partnerships.

In accordance with the Policy, in all situations in which the Secretariat identifies a need for, or is asked to participate in a partnership it uses the following criteria to review such requests:

  • The partnership demonstrates a clear added value for public health.
  • The partnership has a clear goal that concerns a priority area of work for WHO.
  • Partnerships are guided by the technical norms and standards established by WHO.
  • The partnership supports national development objectives.
  • The partnership ensures appropriate and adequate participation of stakeholders.
  • The roles of partners are clear.
  • Transaction costs, potential benefits and risks related to a partnership are evaluated.
  • Pursuit of the public-health goal takes precedence over the special interests of participants.
  • The partnership has an independent external evaluation and/or self-monitoring mechanism.

The term "partnerships" is used generically to include various organizational structures, relationships and arrangements within and external to WHO for furthering collaboration in order to achieve better health outcomes. These range from legally incorporated entities with their own governance to simpler collaborations with varied stakeholders. Diverse terms such as "partnership", "alliance", "network", "programme", "project collaboration", "joint campaigns," and "task force" may be used in the title of these partnerships, although this list does not represent a typology.

The term "formal partnerships" refers to those partnerships with or without a separate legal personality but with a governance structure (for example, a board or steering committee) that takes decisions on direction, workplans and budgets. WHO currently serves as the host organization for four formal partnerships which have not been established as legal entities, and which are known as "hosted partnerships".

As part of its core functions, WHO also manages several collaborative efforts that are fully under its managerial control and accountability and for which there are no separate governance arrangements. They are designed to provide a means to collaborate with multiple stakeholders.

When engaging in partnerships and other collaborative arrangements, WHO applies, as appropriate, both the Policy on engagement with Global Health Partnerships and Hosting Arrangements and the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors.

Policy on WHO Engagement with Global Health Partnerships and Hosting Arrangements

WHO's Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA)

Download the framework in PDF format below:

List of global health partnerships

WHO is involved in a large number of other partnerships and collaborative arrangements. The following document provides an overview of these partnerships and collaborative arrangements and WHO’s role in them.