Since its beginning, the World Medical Association – as a global organisation representing the voice of physicians – has sought to cooperate and collaborate with the United Nations and other key international organisations. In its early years, the WMA was based in New York, close to the main seat of the United Nations. In 1974, the WMA decided to move the office to the Geneva area to be close to the World Health Organization and the heart of the growing international community.
Because the WMA’s core mission is to promote health and the well-being of physicians and patients, the World Health Organization is a key focus of WMA’s external relations. The WMA is in ”Official Relations” with the WHO, which means that we are committed to supporting the policy and work of the WHO. At the same time, WMA seeks to advise and influence the work of this inter-governmental body. Our cooperation with the WHO is very broad and covers nearly all areas of medicine. However, there is a currently a strong focus on health systems development and strengthening and public health programmes, such as tobacco control (see the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control – FCTC).
For information regarding WHO Official Relations – Principles Governing Relations with Nongovernmental Organisations, please see: http://apps.who.int/gb/ngo/pdf/ngo-principles-governing-rela-en.pdf.
The WMA also cooperates with many other UN organisations and specialized programmes that deal directly with health issues or whose focus intersects with health concerns:
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
- United Nations Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC)
The WMA cooperates with other United Nations bodies such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization or the International Telecommunication Union, when particular issues arise that relate to health or medical professional issues.
For information regarding WMA’s relationship and work with the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, please visit our Human Rights section.
Since 1950 the WMA has maintained a working relationship with the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) which is an intergovernmental body.