World Health Organisation (WHO)

The WHO has been committed to strengthening people’s health and well-being for 75 years. This includes ensuring that as many people as possible have ready access to good healthcare and also takes in the prevention and combatting of disease. Switzerland is a founding member of WHO and hosts its headquarters in Geneva. It is represented on the WHO Executive Board by Ambassador Nora Kronig.

WHO has been committed to strengthening people’s health and well-being for 75 years. This includes ensuring that as many people as possible have ready access to good healthcare and also takes in the prevention and combatting of disease. This is likewise in Switzerland’s interests.

Switzerland is a respected member of WHO. With its very good healthcare system and globally leading research institutes, and also as home to innovative pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies, Switzerland is in a position to make a key contribution to strengthening global healthcare.

As a full member, Switzerland participates in the World Health Assembly (WHA) in the same way as all other 193 member states. It actively brings Swiss interests to bear in the WHA through its vote – together with like-minded countries. The WHA is the highest decision-making body of WHO. It sets the organisation’s policy, appoints its Director-General, oversees its financial policy and reviews and approves the proposed programme budget. Switzerland is also represented on the WHO Executive Board from May 2023 to May 2026 by Ambassador Nora Kronig.

The role of WHO

WHO is the leading multilateral authority in the area of health within the United Nations. Under its Constitution, WHO's mission is to steer the activity of international public health, to help shape health research, to define standards and criteria, to put forward political proposals based on empirical data, to provide technical support to countries and to monitor and assess current trends in public health.

As a sovereign Member State, it is up to Switzerland whether or not to adopt changes to existing rules and to sign and ratify new instruments. WHO cannot impose measures on its Member States.  

Negotiations currently under way

Negotiations are currently under way in the following two areas:

• Firstly, on changes to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). These govern international cooperation for the control of infectious diseases and include aspects such as monitoring and reporting systems for these diseases. The International Health Regulations framework has existed since 1969. It has since been revised a number of times, most recently in 2005. The changes currently being discussed seek in particular to strengthen the early detection and monitoring mechanisms. Switzerland has participated from the outset.

International Health Regulations (IHR) (

• Secondly, Switzerland is participating in the discussions on a new convention on pandemic preparedness, prevention and response. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the importance of good international cooperation, coordination, and close knowledge sharing in international health crises.

Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) (

Negotiations have commenced for both processes and are provisionally scheduled to run until May 2024.

Global Health for Peace Initiative

Switzerland works with Oman to support the Global Health for Peace Initiative (GHPI), which benefits fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable regions. It focuses, for example, on protecting hospitals, ensuring universal access to healthcare facilities, training doctors and nurses to work in difficult conditions, and providing psychological support for young people who have experienced violence. Corresponding programs have been developed in close collaboration with ministries and other partners and are currently running in a number of countries, including Colombia, Somalia and the Central African Republic. They aim to strengthen universal health coverage and to contribute to peace outcomes.

At this year's World Health Assembly, a roadmap on the future implementation of the Global Health for Peace Initiative is to be approved. Switzerland is also organising an event in collaboration with Oman to present specific examples.

Global Health for Peace Initiative (GHPI) (

Geneva as 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 people in the region. The Standing Committee of the Regional Committee (SCRC) is a subcommittee of the WHO/Europe Regional Committee. It acts on behalf of the Regional Committee and ensures that the decisions and policies of the Committee are implemented. Switzerland was a member of the SCRC of the WHO Regional Office for Europe from 2019 to 2022.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Last modification 26.05.2023

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