World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a supra-national organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations focused on international public health.


Formation and early days

Canada joined the WHO on August 29, 1946.1)

Public Health Emergencies of International Concern

On May 5, 2014, Director-General Margaret Chan declared the international spread of polio a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The PHEIC declaration has remained in effect as of the most recent emergency committee meeting in June 2022.2) 3)

In 2019, the WHO published a pandemic preparedness document titled “Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza.”4)


On June 10, 2021, the WHO convened the 2nd Global Consultation on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern and their Impact on Public Health Interventions.5)

In 2022, the WHO Regional Office for Europe published a document titled “Vaccine crisis communication manual: step-by-step guidance for national immunization programmes.”6)



The WHO is funded by national governments (“member states”) and external donors including non-governmental organizations, corporations, individuals and philanthropic organizations.7) Voluntary contributions are the primary source of funding for the WHO, along with an annual “assessed contribution” calculated based on the GDP of each member state.

Additionally, the WHO Foundation was set up as a legally distinct entity to raise funds for the WHO.



Organizations that have funded the WHO in the last several years include:8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

Needs to be organized

Everything below this line needs to be reorganized. FIXME

NGO Influence

Paula Jardine described how the World Health Organisation’s original aim to tackle the multiple causes of health inequality and disease – poor sanitation, lack of clean water, poor food supply, malnutrition – was replaced by one overriding goal, that of universal vaccination. Today she tells how two ‘philanthropic’ foundations joined forces to promote this approach through a global programme that would ‘reverse the fortunes of the stagnant vaccine manufacturers’ and how countries came to be persuaded to indiscriminately target 90 per cent coverage rates for all vaccines on their national immunisation schedules.

It was not long after the retirement of Dr Halfdan Mahler, WHO’s director general from 1973-1988, that Unicef, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) and other ‘partners’ launched the Children’s Vaccine Initiative (CVI) to encourage developing countries to self-finance their Child Survival Revolution vaccination programmes. This was a significant change of direction.

It is more than 20 years since the RF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) joined forces, using the World Bank to create the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization GAVI, now known as GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance. In the mid-1990s, with new leaders at the helm of both Unicef and the WHO, Dr Seth Berkley, the RF’s associate director of health sciences, proposed to James Wolfensohn, the Rockefeller Foundation trustee appointed to the Presidency of the World Bank (WB) in 1995, that the WB and the RF stage ‘a coup’.

Berkley wanted to replace the CVI, which was failing to live up to the expectations of the vaccine manufacturers: ‘We will have an outside body that can bring in industry [which the World Health Organisation cannot legally do], do advocacy and build a truly international alliance’.

GAVI was officially created ‘to save children’s lives and protect people’s health through the widespread use of safe vaccines, with a particular focus on the needs of developing countries’. Structured as a public-private partnership, largely funded by BMGF and vaccine manufacturers, GAVI’s purpose was reverse the stagnation of the vaccine market, shaping it so more new and underused vaccines could be sold to the developing world.

Until 2017, the WHO modelled vaccine impact estimates for GAVI. However as Gavi’s questions became more strategy and policy-oriented, with a need ‘to better account for uncertainty’ and to be able ‘to estimate the vaccine impact more accurately striving for the highest level of scientific rigour’, GAVI and the Gates Foundation outsourced this modelling work to a consortium led by Professor Neil Ferguson 14)


Update, December 22, 2021

Interim statement on booster doses for COVID-19 vaccination.

Three key points are apparent;

  1. “The Director-General of WHO has called for a moratorium on booster vaccination for healthy adults until the end of 2021 to counter the persisting and profound inequity in global vaccine access. While many countries are far from reaching the 40% coverage target by the end of 2021, other countries have vaccinated well beyond this threshold, already reaching children and implementing extensive booster vaccination programmes. At the time of release of this statement, globally about 20% of COVID-19 vaccine doses, daily, are used for booster or additional dose vaccination.”
  1. “In accordance with the Roadmap and WHO’s Strategy to Achieve Global COVID-19 Vaccination by mid-2022, the first priority of a vaccination programme is to reduce mortality and severe disease and to protect health systems.”
  2. “WHO is currently not recommending the general vaccination of children and adolescents as the burden of severe disease in these age groups is low and high coverage has not yet been achieved in all countries among those groups who are at highest risk of severe disease.”

WHO AIDS Researchers

TIME - July 18, 2014 - About 100 people traveling to a global AIDS conference in Australia were on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed and killed 298 people in eastern Ukraine, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The researchers, health workers and activists were on their way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. Among the victims planning to attend was Dutch national Joep Lange, a top AIDS researcher and former International AIDS Society president. Briton Glenn Thomas, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization and a former BBC journalist, was also on flight MH17.

While the medical field mourns the lives of those killed, experts like Associate Professor Brian Owler, federal president of the Australian Medical Association, also fear that breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS research will now be stalled.

“The amount of knowledge that these people who died on the plane were carrying with them and the experiences they had developed will have a devastating impact on HIV research,” Owler told TIME.

“The amount of time it takes to get to a stage where you can come up with those ideas cannot be replaced in a short amount of time. So it does set back work for a cure and strategic prevention of HIV/AIDS very significantly,” he said. 15)

2016 WHO Research and Development Blueprint

Evaluation of ideas for potential platforms to support development and production of health technologies for priority infectious diseases with epidemic potential. After a brief overview of the WHO R&D Blueprint, information was provided on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI); and following a summary of the public consultation process since its launch, the six finalists (3 vaccines, 1 diagnostics, 1 immunotherapy, 1 covering all product streams) presented their ideas in open sessions.

The groups presented to the Advisory Group, the WHO Secretariat, interested member states3 (representatives of the Permanent Missions of Colombia, Germany, India, Korea, Norway, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were present at the meeting), potential funders CEPI and Wellcome Trust and other observers (Médecins Sans Frontières - MSF).

Each presentation was followed by a brief summary of the feedback given by the Advisory Group during their review process, and by an open discussion with participants.

The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of R&D activities during epidemics. Its aim is to fast-track the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines that can be used to save lives and avert large scale crisis. With WHO as convener, the broad global coalition of experts who have contributed to the Blueprint come from several medical, scientific and regulatory backgrounds. WHO Member States welcomed the development of the Blueprint at the World Health Assembly in May 2016.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is an initiative established following the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2016, where stakeholders from governments, foundations, industry and civil society discussed the urgent need for new and sustainable partnership models for product development (vaccines, diagnostics therapeutics) to contain outbreaks of emerging and epidemic-prone infectious disease (EID).

The Davos meeting reached a consensus that new mechanisms are required to finance and otherwise support vaccine development in cases of market failure, and that a partnership linking different sectors would be the best approach to delivering this. Recent outbreaks revealed gaps that such partnership should fill.

A process to create such a partnership is now underway (CEPI preparatory Phase: January-June 2016; CEPI start-up phase June 2016- December 2017), with an adopted interim entity, CEO and secretariat; a finalized strategic plan; established cross task teams to consider issues such as prioritisation, clinical development, manufacturing capacity and regulation, potential models for partnership, and potential innovative financing arrangements; and nominated candidates for interim Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Committee.

CEPI will operate according to the principles of no loss, shared benefits and equitable access with the following objectives: preparedness; response speed; “market” security; and equity.

GlaxoSmithKline Improving R&D readiness

Improving R&D readiness for priority infectious disease threats through the development and utilisation of vaccine platform technologies Lead Institution: GlaxoSmithKline, LLC Dr Moncef Slaoui, Chairman of Vaccines, GlaxoSmithKline

GSK proposes to create a dedicated Biopreparedness Organisation (BPO) to improve R&D readiness for priority infectious disease threats that lack market incentives through the development and utilisation of vaccine platform technologies. The BPO will develop and manufacture vaccines to anticipate and improve preparedness for global health threats, including pandemics and epidemics.

By continuously and proactively developing needed vaccines and shifting to crisis response as required, the BPO would provide a fast, flexible, predictable, and high‐quality approach to the challenges of global preparedness.

For this purpose, GSK would made its proprietary technologies [adjuvant recombinant proteins; live-attenuated viral vectors; self-amplifying mRNA (SAM); chemical conjugation; and bio conjugation technology] available to the BPO. If so required, the BPO would also consider producing candidate vaccines based on technologies that GSK does not own (e.g. Recombinant Measles vector, MVA, VSV). It is the primary intent of the BPO to develop vaccines up to the point of clinical proof of concept with a 200,000 to 3 million‐dose vaccine stockpile.

Once a vaccine is developed to the point of clinical proof of concept and dose selection, decisions can be made, depending on the urgency of the threat, to either suspend the clinical development or, at the other extreme, to deploy vaccine and/or to progress to full approval by regulators with manufacturing from one or more permanent manufacturing sites outside the BPO. The BPO could transfer the technology to facilities around the world, including developing countries, to allow for expanded production. 16)


Page 3 of 33 1 Foreword

In today’s global community, all countries are susceptible to infectious diseases and a wide range of other public health risks. Public health threats are inevitable and our first line of defence against them is a strong health security capacity. The majority of emerging epidemics are zoonoses, that is, in fectious diseases that spread between animals and people. Antimicrobial resist ance also presents an ongoing challenge for both human and animal health. These threats need to be tackled with a One Health approach that combines the expertise within human, animal and environmental health for a multidisciplinary response.

This document, Australia’s National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), represents a commitment to take action to strengthen our defences against acute public health threats. It was developed in response to the recommendations fr om Australia’s Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) conducted from 24 November to 1 December 2017.

The WHO-led international team of experts that assessed our country’s capabilities took a great amount of time and careful consideration to supply us with suitable recommendations to further strengthen our already strong capacities. These recommendations are now prioritised for action across the five year time period of the NAPHS. The Department of Health (Health) will oversee implementation of the NAPHS, but it is important to note that the plan is not only a res ponsibility of the health sector. Realisation of the NAPHS depends on partnerships extending to many other sectors, including organisations involved in food safety, agriculture, chemical and radiation safety, security and border agencies.

All levels of government, private organisations and research institutions, and the general community have a part to play in the NAPHS. Given the dual responsibility for many priorities, Health and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture) will partner in overseeing the governance and delivery of the NAPHS. It is critical that Australia’s high standards of health security are maintained. Diseases can spread faster and more unpredictably than ever before due to our increasingly interconnected world.

New pathogens, rapid epidemics, misuse of harmful biological substances and antimicrobial resistance all demand agile and sophisticated systems and measures of prevention, preparedness, detection and response. It will be important to build on the momentum of cross-sectoral dialogue and dedication seen in the JEE. Maintaining connections to our international partners, including the WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health and our fellow Member States, is also central to strengthening global health security. It is in the best interests of the global community, and a moral imperative, to build the capacities of other countries to respond to public health threats.

We are confident that this NAPHS provides a solid framework for the coordination of efforts to continue to improve Australia’s already robust capacities to prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to public health threats. (signed) Professor Brendan Murphy Chief Medical Officer - Dr Mark Schipp Chief Veterinary Office 17)

WHO Global Biomedical Coup

Pandemic Treaty

World Health Organization - 1 December 2021 News release - Geneva

In a consensus decision aimed at protecting the world from future infectious diseases crises, the World Health Assembly today agreed to kickstart a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the decision by the World Health Assembly was historic in nature, vital in its mission, and represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen the global health architecture to protect and promote the well-being of all people.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the many flaws in the global system to protect people from pandemics: the most vulnerable people going without vaccines; health workers without needed equipment to perform their life-saving work; and ‘me-first’ approaches that stymie the global solidarity needed to deal with a global threat,” Dr Tedros said.

“But at the same time, we have seen inspiring demonstrations of scientific and political collaboration, from the rapid development of vaccines, to today’s commitment by countries to negotiate a global accord that will help to keep future generations safer from the impacts of pandemics.”

The Health Assembly met in a Special Session, the second-ever since WHO’s founding in 1948, and adopted a sole decision titled: “The World Together.” The decision by the Assembly establishes an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with a view to adoption under Article 19 of the WHO Constitution, or other provisions of the Constitution as may be deemed appropriate by the INB.

Article 19 of the WHO Constitution provides the World Health Assembly with the authority to adopt conventions or agreements on any matter within WHO’s competence. The sole instrument established under Article 19 to date is the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has made a significant and rapid contribution to protecting people from tobacco since its entry into force in 2005.

Under the decision adopted today, the INB will hold its first meeting by 1 March 2022 (to agree on ways of working and timelines) and its second by 1 August 2022 (to discuss progress on a working draft). It will also hold public hearings to inform its deliberations; deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023; and submit its outcome for consideration by the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024.

Through the decision, the World Health Assembly also requested the WHO Director-General to convene the INB meetings and support its work, including by facilitating the participation of other United Nations system bodies, non-state actors, and other relevant stakeholders in the process to the extent decided by the INB. 18)

World Health Council Objection

First Open Letter on the WHO’s Pandemic Treaty By World Council for Health - March 8, 2022

TO: People throughout the world. Governments, presidents, health ministers. Independent media

TO: WHO via World Health Assembly, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, Dr Soumya Swaminathan

TO: United Nations via Antonio Guterres, Liu Zhenmin, Elliott Harris, Maria-Francesca Spatolisano

The World Council for Health (WCH), a coalition of scientists, doctors, lawyers and civil society advocacy organizations, opposes the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s moves to implement a power grab in the form of a global pandemic agreement, while the world’s attention is diverted by the latest crisis.

The proposed WHO agreement is unnecessary, and is a threat to sovereignty and inalienable rights. It increases the WHO’s suffocating power to declare unjustified pandemics, impose dehumanising lockdowns, and enforce expensive, unsafe and ineffective treatments against the will of the people.

The WCH believes that the people have a right to participate in any agreement that affects their lives, livelihoods and well-being. However, the WHO has not engaged in a process of public participation, which is evidence that its priority is capturing more power for itself and its corporate accomplices, than serving the interests of the people. Without an unbiased democratic process, any agreement by the WHO, acting via the United Nations, will be unlawful, illegitimate and invalid.

Historically, the WHO leadership has failed the people. Among many examples, it approved the injurious H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine for a controversially declared pandemic. Equally, the WHO failed during the Covid-19 chapter as it encouraged lockdowns, suppressed early preventive treatments and recommended product interventions that have proven to be neither safe nor effective.

The WHO cannot be allowed to control the world’s health agenda, nor enforce bio surveillance. While it receives funding from public sources belonging to the people, it is caught in a perpetual conflict of interest because it also receives substantial funding from private interests that use their contributions to influence and profit from WHO decisions and mandates. For example, the Gates Foundation and the Gates-funded GAVI vaccine promotion alliance, contribute over $1 billion a year. Call to Action

WCH partners, from Australia to Zimbabwe, stand against this costly abuse of power and assert the sovereign right of people to make their own decisions, over and above what their representatives may want. We urge everyone to approach credible government representatives, political parties, trade unions, civil society groups, professionals, public figures, and independent media to-

  • Raise awareness about the implications of the proposed global pandemic agreement;
  • Call for national campaigns that protect natural law and democratic constitutions;
  • Join credible civil society coalitions such as the World Council for Health.

We also encourage everyone to learn more about principles, accords, conventions, and treaties that protect the rights of men, women and children. These include the Siracusa Principles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provide legal standards to protect rights.

Leading up to the WHO’s 77th World Health Assembly in 2024, where the WHO intends to confirm their pandemic agreement, the WCH will continue to raise awareness through campaigning against this undemocratic move. For information about the WCH’s past work on this issue, follow these links to the WCH Townhall on the pandemic plan, and see these articles on the subject.

If you or your organisation want to support World Council for Health in this crucial campaign-

There is a better way. We are creating it together, for a healthy, inclusive, and harmonious world. #StopTheTreaty 19)

WHO Digital Passport Agreement

February 23, 2022 20) Checking Covid 19 certificates: World Health Organization selects T-Systems as industry partner

  • WHO facilitates 194 member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates
  • Solution enables countries to check electronic evidence
  • Gateway complies with European General Data Protection Regulation

The World Health Organization (WHO) will make it easier for its member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates in the future. The WHO is setting up a gateway for this purpose. It enables QR codes on electronic vaccination certificates to be checked across national borders. It is intended to serve as a standard procedure for other vaccinations such as polio or yellow fever after COVID-19. The WHO has selected T-Systems as an industry partner to develop the vaccination validation services.

Garrett Mehl, Unit Head, WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation, said; “COVID-19 affects everyone. Countries will therefore only emerge from the pandemic together. Vaccination certificates that are tamper-proof and digitally verifiable build trust. WHO is therefore supporting member states in building national and regional trust networks and verification technology. The WHO's gateway service also serves as a bridge between regional systems. It can also be used as part of future vaccination campaigns and home-based records.”

Adel Al-Saleh, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management and CEO T-Systems, explained: “Corona has a grip on the world. Digitization keeps the world running. Digital vaccination certificates like the EU's are key to this. We are pleased to be able to support the WHO in the fight against the pandemic. Health is a strategic growth area for T-Systems. Winning this contract underscores our commitment to the industry.” Data Transparency and General Data Protection Regulation

WHO and T-Systems are focusing on transparency and data protection when building the gateway. The ongoing work on the software is public on the developer platform Github. All program codes can be viewed by the expert community there. Furthermore, the gateway complies to the strict privacy law of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation.

The gateway will interact with other parts of the system already developed by WHO. These are also open source and with appropriate copyright licenses. A common security audit with penetration tests is part of the development. This will also give hints for regional and national setups to be followed by the implementers. T-Systems industry partner in the pandemic

For T-Systems, the WHO contract is familiar territory. The company had already developed the EU gateway for vaccination certificates (DCC, Digital Covid Certificate). More than 60 countries are connected to it today.

T-Systems had previously set up the European Federation Gateway Service (EFGS). The service ensures that member states' corona tracing apps work across borders.

Telekom and SAP worked closely together on both EU projects. The companies are also industry partners for the German government's Corona warning app. With more than 43 million downloads, the German app is one of the most successful tracing apps in the world. With many additional functions, such as event check-ins or universal certificate storage, it has earned the reputation of being the Swiss army knife in the pandemic.21)

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom company profile About T-Systems: T-Systems company profile About Telekom Healthcare Solutions: Company Profile World Health Organization: Email:

ARCHIVED - World Health Organization. (2005, April 8). Government of Canada.
Public Health Emergency status. Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from
Poliovirus IHR Emergency Committee. (2022, June 24). Statement of the Thirty-second Polio IHR Emergency Committee. World Health Organization.
WHO Global Influenza Programme. (2019). Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza. World Health Organization.
2nd Global Consultation on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern and the Impact on Public Health Interventions. (2021). World Health Organization.
Dolezal, K.-S. (2022). Vaccine crisis communication manual: step-by-step guidance for national immunization programmes. World Health Organization.
7) , 9)
Our contributors. World Health Organization. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from
Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2021. (2022). World Health Organization.
Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2020. (2021). World Health Organization.
Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2019. (2020, June 9). World Health Organization.
Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2018. (2019, May 9). World Health Organization.
Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2017. (2018, April 19). Wayback Machine; World Health Organization.
Back to top