Introduction to the World Health Assembly: A Briefing for Delegates


Sunday, 21 May 2017, 15:00 – 18:00
Maison de la paix, the Graduate Institute, Geneva

Organised by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute and the United Nations Foundation


From 22-31 May 2017, the global health spotlight will be on Geneva and the World Health Assembly (WHA). The annual meeting of the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States to determine the Organization’s policies, appoint the Director-General, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. It constitutes a key annual event, as a number of critical issues for the future of global health are considered. Furthermore, the many meetings and events taking place around the formal deliberations among Member States offer a forum for multistakeholder discussion by engaging high-level officials of health-related international organisations, representatives of non-governmental organisations, philanthropies, the press, and the private sector.

The increasing number of delegates and participants, together with a growing and complex agenda, call for a better understanding around WHO’s role in global health as well as the Assembly’s processes, structure and main issues at stake. This is why, for the third consecutive year, the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute and the United Nations Foundation are convening this introductory briefing, hosted by Ambassador John E. Lange and Professor Ilona Kickbusch.

The event will present important elements of WHA procedures and governance, including the process for the election of the next Director-General; outline the relevance of the WHA for different stakeholders, how they prepare and engage with each other; and provide an overview of key issues facing this Assembly. With the participation of WHO experts, topics under discussion include, among others, the programme budget, access to medicines, health emergencies, nutrition, and SDGs/UHC.


The event is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation.



Please note that  a networking coffee will take place before the event starting at 14:30