International Health Regulations Forum in Austria


The International Health Regulations (IHR) Forum was held on 14–18 March 2016 in Stadtschlaining, Austria, to train national experts using and implementing the IHR in their countries, and to strengthen the expert network in the WHO European Region.

Over 5 days, participants exchanged ideas and best practices, discussed challenges and worked on solutions. Recognized international experts also provided knowledge on relevant topics, and helped to develop communication and coordination skills for efficient international collaboration.

In addition to national experts, the training was facilitated by WHO staff (1 from the WHO Country Office in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 5 from WHO/Europe and 3 from WHO headquarters/WHO Lyon Office).

35 experts from 20 countries attended the IHR Forum: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Most participants either work as a national IHR focal point or in the health ministry.

About the IHR Forum

The IHR Forum was designed with the aim of providing technical training, as well as a platform for exchange of common practices and ideas. It facilitates experience sharing between responsible technical personnel from target countries, mainly the newly independent states and western Balkan countries. Thanks to the IHR Forum, professionals will be better prepared to apply the IHR on a routine basis, as well as during management of public health emergencies.

Given the breadth and diversity of the participants and internationally recognized experts facilitating the course, the IHR Forum will serve as a veritable forum for sustained international exchange. Benefitting from the training course and technical interchange, participants will be able to reflect and expound upon their knowledge gained, and subsequently augment their national IHR implementation while further disseminating best practices with colleagues within their home institutions.

Besides a one-time training activity, the IHR Forum offers to participants a unique opportunity for continuous learning and experiences sharing on IHR implementation through a dedicated web-based interface hosted on the WHO Health Security Learning Platform, established and moderated both in English and Russian.