About WHO

Why reform?

Three fundamental challenges drive the need for reform. First, WHO has found itself overcommitted and overextended. It was in need of selective and strategically focused priorities, which can best reflect the Organization’s comparative advantage and that can guide WHO’s response over the coming years. Secondly, WHO’s role in global health governance and relation to other actors in international health needs to be defined with greater clarity. Thirdly, when faced with new challenges and a rapidly changing environment, it is important for WHO to be able to respond with sufficient speed and agility.

By establishing clear priorities, combined with adopting better governance and management practices, WHO can better serve the global health community. Ultimately, reform enables WHO to more effectively fulfil its constitutional mandate as the “directing and coordinating authority on international health work”.

The reform process has three objectives:

  • Improved health outcomes, with WHO meeting the expectations of its Member States and partners in addressing agreed global health priorities, focused on the actions and areas where the Organization has a unique function or comparative advantage, and financed in a way that facilitates this focus.
  • Greater coherence in global health, with WHO playing a leading role in enabling the many different actors to play an active and effective role in contributing to the health of all peoples.
  • An Organization that pursues excellence, one that is effective, efficient, responsive, objective, transparent and accountable.

Reform of our work in emergencies

A new stream of reform was established to ensure WHO’s capacity to prepare for and respond to outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences. It cuts across the three aeas of reform and they will all be closely linked and aligned.