Although the World Health Organization (WHO) develops policies and makes decisions that impact on our health and well-being, those most affected (people living with life threatening/altering diseases or disabilities) and their civil society organisations have no say in its governance. Unlike some other UN agencies, there is no meaningful participation at WHO of those most impacted by its decisions. For folks down on the ground in marginalised communities around the world, the WHO is as out of reach as the clouds above.
The WHO is governed by 194 governments, also known as Member States. The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the World Health Organization.
The Executive Board (EB) is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year terms. The main Board meeting, at which the agenda for the forthcoming Health Assembly is agreed upon and resolutions for forwarding to the Health Assembly are adopted, is held in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly for more administrative matters. The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.