WHO launched the WHO Civil Society Commission and held the inaugural meeting of its Steering Committee in Geneva on 24th August 2023.
The historical role of civil society organizations (CSO) in bringing about change in public health is well-known. While WHO has a long-standing tradition of working with CSOs, the establishment of the Commission takes the collaboration to a new level. This Commission provides, for the first time, the ability to channel advice and recommendations in a more structured and systematic manner from civil society to WHO on health priorities and related issues.
The Commission’s mandate is to strengthen dialogue and foster collaboration with WHO and among one another. It will also provide recommendations to support WHO in this engagement at all levels (global, regional and national) towards the achievement of universal health coverage (health for all) as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. The launch of the Commission is the Director-General’s response to civil society requests to explore better and more meaningful ways to engage with WHO above and beyond those which already exist.
The Steering Committee will provide overall strategic direction for the full Commission and lead the development of its main deliverables. It will also convey advice and recommendations from civil society through regular engagement with the Director-General and senior WHO leadership.
This meeting was opened by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and brought together the members of the Steering Committee (consisting of 22 diverse civil society organizations from the Commission, working on health and other sectors. Full membership of the Commission itself will be announced in the coming days.
Joining the Commission
The application process remains open and organizations that wish to apply to join the Commission are encouraged to do so. Learn more