Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

Core functions of the IHR

In today’s connected world, health security is a global issue. We must all protect ourselves, and each other, from threats like infectious diseases, chemical and radiological events.
That is why 196 countries have agreed to work together to prevent and respond to public health crises. The agreement is called the International Health Regulations, or IHR (2005), and WHO plays the coordinating role. Through the IHR, WHO keeps countries informed about public health risks, and works with partners to help countries build capacity to detect, report and respond to public health events.

IHR Review Committee

IHR Review Committee, 24 August 2015

24 August 2015 -- The first meeting of the Review Committee on the role of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in the Ebola outbreak and response has begun today with opening remarks from Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. The main topics under discussion are the effectiveness of IHR in the prevention, preparedness and response to the Ebola outbreak. The Emergency Response Framework, and its links with the IHR will also be discussed. The Committee will be looking at ways to improve the functioning, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of the Regulations.

Latest guidance

Handbook for the assessment of capacities at the human-animal interface

This Handbook was developed by WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to facilitate the assessment of public health capacities in countries for areas in which veterinary services contribute to the implementation of the IHR (2005). It highlights complementarities between the WHO IHR Monitoring Tool and the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway, and aims at facilitating annual reporting on country compliance with IHR (2005) requirements by using the results of the PVS Pathway missions. Through this process, it also endeavours to highlight the importance of the collaboration between the human and animal health sectors.


Strengthening the competencies, including the knowledge and skills, of public health personnel is critical to the sustainment of public health surveillance and response at all levels of the health system and the effective implementation of the IHR.

WHO provides leadership and contributes to building the capacity of public health professionals working on the implementation of the IHR; it has fostered the development and offers a variety of learning solutions, including training activities, materials and tools, tailored to specific needs of public health workers and partner institutions.

In focus


  • 28 October 2015

    Next meeting of the IHR Review Committee to be held 9-13 November 2015 in Geneva

    During the October meeting, the Committee identified ten key challenges, along which it will focus its work including performing a SWOT analysis to identify the factors that promote or inhibit successful implementation of the IHR. This in turn will lead to the identification of expected outcomes and to advance the Committee’s work in developing recommendations.

  • 13-15 July 2015

    Building Health Security Beyond Ebola High level partners meeting

    This meeting brought together the key national, regional and international stakeholders to establish a common framework of action in order to support, coordinate and intensify the strategic development and maintenance of health security preparedness.

  • 3 July 2015

    Development, monitoring and evaluation of functional core capacity for implementing the IHR (2005): Concept note

    To better support States Parties in measuring their public health capacities and further to the recommendations of the IHR Review Committee that WHO consider a variety of approaches for the shorter- and longer-term assessment and development of IHR core capacities, a concept note exploring options for the way forward has been developed. Its purpose is to facilitate discussions between States Parties and the WHO Regional Committees and proposes options for their consideration.

IHR national capacities

All States Parties are required to have or to develop minimum core public health capacities to implement the IHR (2005) effective in accordance with articles 5 and 13 of the IHR (2005).