Ms Leen Meulenbergs


Director, Strategic Partnerships, WHO/Europe, and WHO Representative to the European Union (EU)


The strategic partnerships programme supports the building, consolidating and strengthening of WHO/Europe's partnerships at the regional and country levels, and provides strategic oversight of work for resource mobilization, to achieve better health for citizens in all countries across the WHO European Region. It facilitates relations with the EU, United Nations agencies, other intergovernmental agencies, global health partnerships and non-state actors.

EU institutions (the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council) are key partners for not only WHO/Europe but also WHO globally. The WHO Representation to the EU, based in Brussels, Belgium, works to enrich WHO's overall strategy towards the EU and to advance cooperation on priority areas, including: global public health, development policy, emergency and humanitarian action, research and capacity development.


The strategic partnerships programme:

  • is the entry point for partners working or wishing to work with WHO/Europe, and develops WHO/Europe's partnership strategy;
  • designs and implements strategies for resource mobilization to increase the amount and flexibility of resources and their alignment with WHO/Europe's priorities;
  • recommends and coordinates processes to ensure the timeliness and quality of donor agreements and reporting; and
  • ensures the coherence, consistency and regular revision of partnerships.

The WHO Representation to the EU:

  • leverages WHO expertise to facilitate the cross-fertilization and mutual enhancement of the EU's and WHO's policy and technical work in relevant areas;
  • supports WHO staff's participation in European Commission consultations, promoting WHO policies in EU institutions and among health stakeholders; and
  • provides business intelligence and brokering, including collecting, compiling and maintaining the institutional memory of all EU activities that have relevance to and impact on WHO's work.


Ms Meulenbergs has led the work with partners and resource mobilization at WHO/Europe since 2011. From August 2016, she is also WHO Representative to the EU, coordinating WHO's relations with EU institutions.

Before joining WHO/Europe, Ms Meulenbergs was head of the International Relations Department of the Belgian health ministry (the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment) and responsible for collaboration with WHO on health for Belgium's presidencies of the Council of the European Union in 2001 and 2010.

Holding a master's degree in psychology, Ms Meulenbergs has also worked as executive director of a WHO collaborating centre for health and psychosocial factors; managed various European projects, including one on Alzheimer's disease; worked on post-traumatic stress disorder in the Great Lakes region in Africa; and was a member of the WHO Task Force on National Mental Health Assessment.