Global Alert and Response (GAR)

The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) is a technical collaboration of existing institutions and networks who pool human and technical resources for the rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance. The Network provides an operational framework to link this expertise and skill to keep the international community constantly alert to the threat of outbreaks and ready to respond.



The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network contributes towards global health security by:

  • combating the international spread of outbreaks
  • ensuring that appropriate technical assistance reaches affected states rapidly
  • contributing to long-term epidemic preparedness and capacity building.

The initial meeting of partners in Geneva in April 2000 brought together representatives of technical institutions, organizations and networks in global epidemic surveillance and response to discuss "Global Outbreak Alert and Response". Participants identified the need for a global network, building on new and existing partnerships, to deal with the global threats of epidemic-prone and emerging diseases. A Steering Committee of network partners is guiding development of the network.

WHO coordinates international outbreak response using resources from the network. WHO also provides a secretarial service for the network (e.g. employment of project manager, support for the Steering Committee and structures) as part of its Alert and Response Operations within CSR. In addition, protocols for network structure, operations and communications have been developed to improve coordination between partners.


The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network focuses technical and operational resources from scientific institutions in Member States, medical and surveillance initiatives, regional technical networks, networks of laboratories, United Nations organizations (e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR), the Red Cross (International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and national societies) and international humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (e.g. Médecins sans Frontières, International Rescue Committee, Merlin and Epicentre). Participation is open to technical institutions, networks and organizations that have the capacity to contribute to international outbreak alert and response.

Guiding Principles for International Outbreak Alert and Response

Since April 2000, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network has been bringing agreed standards to international epidemic response through the development of Guiding Principles for International Outbreak Alert and Response and operational protocols to standardize epidemiological, laboratory, clinical management, research, communications, logistics support, security, evacuation and communications systems.

The Guiding Principles of International Outbreak Alert and Response aim to improve the coordination of international assistance in support of local efforts by partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

For more information


Avian influenza

Latest information

Disease outbreaks

  • 6 March 2015
    Measles – WHO European Region
  • 6 March 2015
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia
  • 26 February 2015
    Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China