Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) on Research and Training in Reproductive Health in the European Region

The RAP meets every two years to review progress in reproductive health research and training, and to discuss current priorities and the way forward.

Terms of reference

The Advisory Panel was set up after the 2004 World Health Assembly urged Member States to make sexual and reproductive health an integral part of national planning and budgeting and to include all aspects of it in national monitoring and reporting on progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

The Panel is a technical and scientific advisory body whose objective is to optimize WHO's response to countries' needs for reproductive health research and technical cooperation. It aims to foster, guide and monitor activities to strengthen and support countries' reproductive health programmes.

The Advisory Panel has five functions:

1. to make recommendations on strategic planning and budgetary allocations for it, including identifying needs for capacity strengthening (research training and opportunities to support reproductive health programmes);

2. to promote, review, and monitor regional research initiatives in reproductive health, and make recommendations on budgetary allocations for such initiatives;

3. to strengthen research and technical capacity strengthening by reviewing proposals, including research protocols to be funded and recommended, overseeing the implementation and monitoring activities in the Region and reviewing the network of institutions collaborating with WHO in reproductive health;

4. to advise WHO on the formulation of its support to national reproductive health plans and programmes and on action plans for technical cooperation with countries; tools and practice guidelines used in country programmes; and strategies for assessing and introducing sexual and reproductive health technologies to improve quality of care;

5. to advocate research and promote the dissemination and application of research results nationally, regionally or internationally, and to promote collaboration among agencies working to strengthen national capabilities for research and for programme implementation and monitoring in sexual and reproductive health.

Membership criteria

Advisory Panel members are expected to have a thorough understanding of sexual and reproductive health issues, problems, priorities and strategies of the Region, taking due account of the socioeconomic environment.

Each Advisory Panel comprises up to ten members, appointed by WHO's director of reproductive health and research, with due consideration being given to gender balance and majority representation by low- and middle-income countries of the region concerned. Members serve a three-year term, renewable once. They should, as far as possible, have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • reproductive health research, care and service delivery in public;
  • management of reproductive health programmes;
  • social/behavioural sciences, with experience in reproductive health issues;
  • information dissemination and reproductive rights: areas such aswomen's reproductive health advocacy, legal expertise with particular working knowledge of reproductive rights; or communication/media expertise.

In addition, there should be ex officio representation from: WHO/Europe and WHO's Gender and Rights Advisory Panel. Collaborating agencies active in the Region are invited to participate as interested parties/observers.