United Nations system

As the UN specialized agency for health, WHO collaborates with other United Nations (UN) organizations, agencies and funds, to ensure effective coordination, synergy and policy coherence for working in health or health-related areas, including the following:

  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • International Organization for Migration (IMO)
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR)
  • The World Bank
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

WHO/Europe strives not only to build strong partnerships with other United Nations organizations, agencies and funds, but ultimately seeks to complement their mandate and to encourage their proactive involvement in the health sector, especially in view of achieving Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO/Europe supports coordination among the United Nations agencies through well-established regional and country-level mechanisms: the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) and the regional United Nations development group (R-UNDG/RDT). The RCM focuses on cooperation at the intercountry/regional level and is chaired by UNECE, while the R-UNDG/RDT is chaired by UNDP and focuses on country-level coordination. These mechanisms, which meet back to back about every six months, aim to provide leadership, foster communication and policy symmetry at the regional level and provide strategic guidance and support to resident coordinators (RCs) and United Nations country teams (UNCTs).

The RCM established an ‘Issue Based coalition on health’. The purpose of this coalition is to act as a pan European mechanism that facilitates and promotes the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and the health related targets in the European region through coordinating the activities of the relevant UN agencies and other governmental and intergovernmental organizations and partners.  

UN agencies and related entities have created additional thematic working groups that focus on specific issues. The ‘Regional Working Group on Gender’ aims at promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Europe and Central Asia region. In addition, the ‘UN ECA Partnership for Youth’ aims at linking and promoting global, regional and national policy and programme initiatives for young people in the ECA region. The ‘Roma Regional Working Group of the UNDG working in Europe and central Asia’ aims to enhance collaboration among organizations on Roma issues.

At the country level, WHO/Europe’s country offices are members of the United Nations country teams. These teams exist in almost all countries with a WHO country office and consist of the different United Nations offices in the countries. WHO country offices also participate in related coordination mechanisms, such as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the ONE United Nations programme and the “Delivering as One” pilot programme.