The World Health Organization requires expert advice for overall scientific and technical guidance, as well as for direct support of global, interregional and regional technical cooperation programmes for national health development. Since its establishment, WHO has obtained expert advice and support from a very large multiplicity of institutions. In some cases the collaboration with certain institutions has extended over the years in benefit of WHO's programmes.
It is in those situations where there has been a long history of successful collaboration in implementing jointly planned activities is support of WHO programmes and, at the same time, there is a concrete perspective of continuing such collaboration in the future, that the designation of the institution as WHO Collaborating Centre can be explored. Hence, the designation as a WHO Collaborating Centre is a way of recognising those institutions that have actively been collaborating with WHO, and at the same time providing a formal framework to future concrete contributions by the designated institution in support of the WHO programme activities.
An entire institution or, in most cases, a department, division or laboratory within an institution may be designated as a centre. Typical examples of WHO Collaborating Centres are departments of universities, laboratories or divisions of national research institutes, departments of hospitals, departments of ministries, national academies, etc. To be eligible for designation, the proposed institution should have successfully completed at least two years of collaboration with WHO in carrying out jointly planned activities.
WHO CCs have been in place since the founding of the Organization. The first
WHO CC was the Department of Biological Standardization, Statens
WHO CCs are an essential and cost-effective cooperation mechanism, which enables the Organization in particular to fulfil its mandated activities and to harness resources far exceeding its own. WHO gains access to top centres worldwide and the institutional capacity to ensure the scientific validity of global health work. Through these global networks, the Organization is able to exercise leadership in shaping the international health agenda.
Conversely, designation as a WHO collaborating centre provides institutions with enhanced visibility and recognition by national authorities, calling public attention to the health issues on which they work. It opens up improved opportunities for them to exchange information and develop technical cooperation with other institutions, in particular at international level, and to mobilize additional and sometimes important resources from funding partners. The main role of the WHO CCs is to provide strategic support to the Organization to meet two main needs: implementing WHO’s mandated work and programme objectives, and developing and strengthening institutional capacity in countries and regions.
The technical areas with the most WHO CCs are: occupational health, assessment of environmental health hazards, cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases, nursing, mental health, viral diseases and human reproduction.
The special website for WHO Collaborating Centres.
- France, Pasteur Institute,
Tunisia 21 December 1987
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 28 October 1963
Catalogue - Tunisia, Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunis
UNOstamps subject page 180
last revised: 25 January 2011