What is WHO ?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing
In the 21st century, responsibility for health lies at various levels – local, national, regional as well as global. It is also a shared responsibility between the health and other sectors, involving a wide range of health concerns – equitable access to health and health care, protection from health threats, addressing health determinants etc.
More than 8000 people from more than 150 countries work in 147 WHO country offices, six WHO Regional Offices and at the Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition to medical doctors, public health specialists, scientists and epidemiologists, WHO staff include people trained to manage administrative, financial, and information systems, as well as experts in statistics, economics, emergency relief, communications and advocacy.
- Provide leadership on matters critical to health and engage in partnerships where joint action is needed;
- Shape the research agenda and stimulate the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
- Provide technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity;
- Articulate ethical and evidence-based policy options;
- Set norms and standards and promote and monitor their implementation;
- Monitor the health situation and assess health trends.
WHO and Consumer Protection
To better help world consumers on health issues, since 2005, the World Health Organization worked closely with the European Commission Health & Consumer Protection Division, on consumers health protection and law.
Relations between the World Health Organization and the European Commission are governed by an exchange of letters of 14 December 2000, detailing the objectives, priorities and areas of cooperation, as well as the procedures, activities and practical arrangements for its implementation. More specific cooperation has taken place in the context of the Moscow Declaration of 2010, whereby the European Commission and WHO/Europe have worked together in the framework of the seven roadmaps that detail their cooperation. The exchange of letters provides for an annual meeting of senior officials’ meeting of both sides.
The most recent senior officials’ meeting (SOM) was held in June 2013 focussed mainly on the implementation of the Moscow Declaration within the European region, after which the cooperation between the two organisations continued as outlined below. The positive cooperation between the European Commission and WHO continued in 2013 – 2014, both at the level of senior officials and at technical levels in the following areas:
- Health security , including Preparedness, surveillance and response
- Research and innovation
- Non-communicable diseases and health inequalities
- In-country collaboration and health systems
- Health information
- World Consumers on health issues
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