WHO and Switzerland sign country cooperation strategy

WHO/Christopher Black

From left, Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs of Switzerland, and Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, signing a country cooperation strategy

On 20 May 2013, Switzerland and WHO signed a country cooperation strategy (CCS), highlighting opportunities and challenges for stronger cooperation between Switzerland and the WHO Secretariat.

Mr Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs of Switzerland, thanked WHO for its work, and Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, congratulated Switzerland for making this important commitment.

At the signing, Dr Chan praised Switzerland for its “top political commitment, both as a host country for WHO, and in showing its support for the current WHO reform.”

The collaboration between WHO and Switzerland will follow four strategic areas:

  • exchange of information and expertise on noncommunicable diseases, nutrition and food policies, mental health and substance-use issues;
  • stronger cooperation on national health systems, with emphasis on health personnel;
  • support to WHO in strengthening its leadership in global health governance, in accordance with its constitutional mandate, by making use of the enabling environment available in Geneva; and
  • enhanced collaboration in countries given priority by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, thanked Mr Berset for the process through which the CCS was developed (including close collaboration with WHO at the global, regional and national levels, which demonstrated a coordinated approach among them) and for contributing to new guidelines for CCSs.

Ms Jakab underlined that this model gave WHO an opportunity to make collaboration agreements with countries without WHO country offices. This type of agreement fosters policy coherence and ensures WHO collaboration in strategic areas that benefits not only the Member State concerned but also countries to which it gives development aid.

The CCS with Switzerland is the first signed with a Member State in the WHO European Region.