Fortieth session


Report of the Sub-Committee of the Regional Committee on Programmes and Technical Cooperation, Part II: Collaboration with Regional and National Nongovernmental Organizations in Official Relations with WHO

         The Regional Committee,

         Having considered Part II of the report of the Sub-Committee of the Regional Committee on Programmes and Technical Cooperation on relations with regional and national nongovernmental organizations;*

         Recalling resolution WPR/RC37.R8 on collaboration with nongovernmental organizations;

         Noting that the establishment of working relations has been hampered by the lack of clear guidelines at the regional level;

  1. ENDORSES the Sub-Committee's provisional guiding principles that are annexed to this resolution for the establishment of working relations with regional and national nongovernmental organizations;
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to foster collaboration with selected nongovernmental organizations within the framework of these guiding principles for a trial period of three to five years;
    (2) to report to the Regional Committee on his findings at the end of this period;
  3. REQUESTS the Sub-Committee to consider issues concerning working relations with nongovernmental organizations as and when required by the Regional Director, and to review WHO's collaboration with nongovernmental organizations from time to time as appropriate and to report to the Regional Committee on their findings.



         As stated in Article 2 of the Constitution, one of the main functions of the Organization is to act as the directing and coordinating authority on, international health work. In support of this function, and in accordance with Article 71 of the Constitution, WHO may make suitable arrangements for consultation and cooperation with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in carrying out its international health work.

  1. Definition

             In the present context a is understood to be an organization which is not fully funded or controlled by government and which is promoting human well-being on a not-for-profit basis. When it exists in only one country, it will be considered as a national NGO, and when it exists in a number of countries in the Region it will be considered as a regional NGO.

             The organization should have a legally established constitution, a clear purpose and visible activities with a governing body which has the authority to speak for its members.

             It may or may not be affiliated to an international organization.

  2. Types or relations with NGOs at the regional and national level
    2.1 Regional or national NGOs affiliated to international NGOs in official relations with WHO.
    2.1 Regional or national NGOs for which there is no international NGO.
    2.3 Regional or national NGOs affiliated to international NGOs not in official relations with WHO.
  3. Criteria for the establishment or working relations between NGOs and the Western Pacific Regional Office
    3.1 The organization shall meet the Western Pacific Regional Office definition of an NGO.
    3.2 The membership, aims and activities of the NGO shall be in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of WHO and in particular with the health-for-all strategies.
    3.3 The NGO and WPRO shall have overlapping or common areas of activity. When there are several regional or national NGOs with similar areas of interest, they may form a joint committee or other body authorized to act for the group as a whole.
    3.4 The activities of the NGO should have the endorsement of the Member State concerned.
  4. Procedures to be adopted for development of working relations with the Western Pacific Regional Office
    4.1 Informal contact is established with eligible NGOs.
    4.2 Informal working relations, defined by a letter of intent, are developed through collaborative activities over a period of three years, with the concurrence of the concerned government.
    4.3 WHO periodically reviews the collaborative activities, which should be mutually beneficial, and beneficial to Member States.
    4.4 When a number of specific joint activities are found to be progressing well, the Regional Director may assess them with the concerned officials with regard to establishing formal working relations with these NGOs.

             Applications from NGOs for formalizing working relations should normally reach the Regional Office not later than six months before the convening of the Regional Committee. Applications from national organizations shall be considered in consultation with the Government of the Member State concerned.

             On the basis of this consultation and the assessment referred to above, the Regional Director will make recommendations to the Regional Committee. Consideration should be given to the desirability of ensuring a valuable continuing partnership based on defined objectives and evidenced by a record of successful past collaboration and a framework for future collaborative activities.

    4.5 The Regional Committee, after considering the recommendations of the Regional Director, shall decide whether an NGO is to be admitted into working relations with WPRO.
    4.6 The Regional Director shall inform each organization of the Regional Committee's decision on its application.
    4.7 The Regional Committee may request the Regional Director to present a periodic report based on the agreed programme of collaboration with each NGO in order to determine the desirability of maintaining working relations.
    4.8 The Regional Committee, in considering this report, may decide to discontinue working relations if it concludes that such relations are no longer appropriate or necessary in the light of changing programmes or other circumstances. Similarly, the Regional Committee may suspend or discontinue working relations if an organization no longer meets the criteria for the establishment of such relations.
    4.9 The Regional Committee may instruct the Sub-Committee on Programmes and Technical Cooperation to consider issues concerning working relations with NGOs.
  5. Privileges conferred on NGOs by formal working relations with the Western Pacific Regional Office

             The privileges conferred by a working relationship shall include:

    (i) the right to participate, on invitation, without right of vote, in sessions of the Regional Committee or in committees and conferences convened under its authority, or in other relevant WHO meetings;
    (ii) access to non-confidential documentation and such other documentation as the Regional Director may see fit to make available through such special distribution facilities as WPRO may establish;
    (iii) the right to submit a memorandum to the Regional Director, who would determine the nature and scope of its circulation.
  6. Responsibilities of regional or national NGOs in their relations with the Western Pacific Regional Office
    6.1 NGOs shall be responsible for implementing the mutually agreed programme of collaboration and shall inform WPRO as soon as possible if for any reason they are unable to fulfill their part of the agreement.
    6.2 NGOs shall utilize the opportunities available to them through their normal work to disseminate information on WHO policies and programmes.
    6.3 NGOs shall collaborate individually or collectively in WPRO programmes to further health- for-all goals.
    6.4 NGOs shall individually or collectively collaborate with the Member States in which their activities are based in the implementation of national and regional health-for-all strategies.

* WPR/RC40/13

22 September 1989

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