Each year, senior health officials from Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) travel to Geneva to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA). It is at WHA that WHO's work is reviewed, new goals are set, and new tasks assigned. Some of the main functions of the WHA are to determine the policies of WHO, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget.
At WHA, two main types of meetings are held, each with a different purpose:
- Committees meet to debate technical and health matters (Committee A), and financial and management issues (Committee B), and approve the texts of resolutions, which are then submitted to the plenary meeting.
- Plenary is the meeting of all delegates to the WHA. The WHA meets in plenary several times in order to listen to reports and adopt the resolutions transmitted by the committees. The Director-General and Member States also address the delegates at the plenary.
In addition, technical briefings are organized separately on specific public health topics to present new developments in the area, provide a forum for debate, and to allow for information sharing.
An agenda with the list of topics for discussion will be released prior to the Assembly. The agenda is not timed, and while the Chair generally proceeds through the list of topics in order, there may be changes to the agenda if so decided by the Chair. Each topic will be discussed for the amount of time it takes to get through it, which means that timing is very approximate during the proceedings.
Besides Member States, other stakeholders, such as non-state actors in official relations with WHO, are allowed to follow the WHA proceedings and participate in technical briefings and official side events.
DIVERSITY IN DELEGATION
Resources for GHC Delegates & Advocates
GHC provides members with several resources to prepare for the upcoming WHA, including the following:
- Credentials to attend the WHA formal proceedings within the grounds of the Palais des Nations
- A WHA webinar series to better understand and engage in WHA discussions and debates
- A Special WHA Side Events Calendar to help organize your schedule at WHA
- A daily email alert and in-person huddles with updates on WHA proceedings and side events
- A process to propose statements to be considered by GHC for submission to WHA
- Online platforms (i.e., GHC's blog and social media channels) to amplify your voice at WHA
- Briefings in Geneva with high-level stakeholders such as U.S. government representatives (details to be announced soon)
For those members who are not able to attend WHA or are attending through another delegation, you can still sign-up for GHC's daily briefings and partake in other GHC activities throughout the week.