WHO reform process
Landmark events of the WHO reform process from the initial consultation on the future of financing for WHO
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Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly (WHA) and 131st session of the Executive Board (EB), May 2012
WHO’s priority setting process dominated the reform discussion at the WHA – Member States endorsed the outcome of the February Member State’s meeting on programmes and priority setting while recognizing that special emphasis should be given to determinants of health. A number of reforms across the governance and managerial programmatic streams were endorsed and the Secretariat was asked to move forward including implementation. In other areas such as the financing of WHO Member States asked the Secretariat to revisit the issue at a special session of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee (PBAC) scheduled for early December.
Member State meeting on programmes and priority setting, February 2012
One of the Executive Board's decisions at its 130th session was that the reform of programmes and priority setting would be discussed in a Member State-driven process. The process included a meeting, open to all Member States, held at WHO headquarters in Geneva on 27th and 28th February (preceded on 26th February by a presentation and information session with the Secretariat). The Director-General invited Member States to send comments on the current proposals on programmes and priority setting through a dedicated web-based consultation in advance of the meeting. The Member States reached consensus on a set of categories of work for WHO (communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases, promoting health through the life course, health systems, and preparedness, surveillance and response) and criteria that will guide the process of setting the Organization’s priorities.
130th Executive Board, January 2012
Consultation with Member States on the reform agenda resumed during the 130th session of the Executive Board (16–23 January 2012). This consultation follows up on the dialogue from the Board's special session on reform (1–3 November 2011). Member States had also been participating in an ongoing web-based consultation on the reform agenda.
Executive Board special session, 1-3 November 2011
About 100 Member States attended the first ever three-day special session of the Board. Decisions were reached in each of the three main areas: priorities, governance and managerial reform.
Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly and 129th session of the Executive Board, May 2011
At the sixty-fourth World Health Assembly the Director-General presented the consolidated report The future of financing for WHO that outlined elements of the direction for programme of reform. Member States passed a resolution endorsing the overall direction of the reform. At the 129th session of the Executive Board following directly on the WHA it was decided that the reform would be a Member States driven process.
128th session of the Executive Board, January 2011
The 128th session of the Executive Board asked the Secretariat to take a broad vision for reform forward and present a more detailed programme to the World Health Assembly in May. Out of the discussion it also became clear that there were three main objectives and three related components of reform:
- greater focus to meet the expectations of Member States in addressing health priorities;
- greater coherence in global health through better governance; and
- an organization that was fit for purpose through management reforms.
This three part structure: priorities, governance and management remains the organizing framework for the process to date.
The future of financing for WHO – January 2010
In January 2010, the Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan convened an informal consultation on the future of financing for WHO. The consultation brought together senior officials and ministers from ministries of health, development cooperation, finance and foreign affairs speaking in their personal capacity. While the starting point for the meeting was a discussion about the financing of WHO, participants raised more fundamental questions about the role of WHO and the nature of its core business in the rapidly changing environment of global health.