World Health Organisation (WHO)

Switzerland is a founding Member of the WHO and hosts the organisation's headquarters in Geneva. It is committed to attaining the WHO's goal to build a better, healthier future for people. It also seeks to promote Geneva as the international health capital.

A normative role

The WHO is the directing authority for the health field within the United Nations system. It sets the standards and determines criteria for public health. The Member States then assimilate these standards in their legal bases. In addition, the WHO defines global research programmes and channels the results into its health policy recommendations. This normative basis leads to the establishment of standardized regulations, which are of key importance for Switzerland.

A supporting role

The WHO was set up in 1948 after the Second World War with the same ambitions as those that prompted the creation of the United Nations system. Its constitution promotes an ideal – "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health", defined as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". In accordance with this call, the WHO works with all Member States to support their national health development process.

Switzerland is committed to Geneva as an international health capital

Switzerland supports the presence of WHO in Geneva. It has committed to providing the organization with an advantageous loan for the construction of a new building and the renovation of its current main building.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe

WHO/Europe is one of six WHO Regional Offices around the world and serves the WHO European Region, which includes 53 countries. It supports its Member States and collaborates with a range of partners to improve the well-being and health status of nearly 900 million citizens in the Region.

The Regional Committee for Europe is the decision-making body of WHO in the European Region and its role is similar to that of the World Health Assembly. Representatives of the Member States in the Region meet annually to define regional policies, recommend the WHO/Europe programme of activities, monitor its implementation and adopt the budget.

The Standing Committee of the Regional Committee (SCRC) is a subcommittee of the WHO/Europe Regional Committee. It represents and acts for the Regional Committee and ensures that the decisions and policies of the Committee are implemented. It is composed of representatives from 12 countries and each member is elected by the Regional Committee for a term of three years. Switzerland is a member of the WHO/Europe SCRC for the period 2019-2022. Through its participation in the Standing Committee, Switzerland is particularly committed to advancing work on universal health coverage, health- security, solutions to challenges related to antimicrobial resistance, drug-pricing transparency, patient safety, strengthening health competences and effective global health governance.

Last modification 11.05.2020

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