The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
This year’s Health Assembly takes place on 21–26 May 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Guide for delegates to the World Health Assembly
DATE AND PLACE OF THE HEALTH ASSEMBLY
The Seventy-first World Health Assembly will open in Geneva on Monday, 21 May 2018, at 09:30; it will close on Saturday, 26 May 2018. The Health Assembly will be held in the Palais des Nations, located near Place des Nations and Avenue de la Paix, and is most easily reached by the entrance gate on Route de Pregny.
Please note that Monday, 21 May 2018 is a public holiday in Geneva but not an official holiday for WHO.
Online registration is required for the Health Assembly. For security reasons, all delegates are required to wear photo ID badges in order to access the meeting room. For this reason, during the online registration process, the Focal Point will be asked to upload a passport-style photograph of each member of the delegation.
Instructions for online registration, guidance on the nature of the image required, and brief instructions on how to upload and resize an existing image
ARRIVAL IN GENEVA
Delegates, representatives or other participants travelling by air will arrive at Geneva airport (Cointrin), and those travelling by train at Geneva main station (Cornavin). Hotel reservations and other arrangements should be made well in advance. Taxis are available directly outside the airport and station.
Attention is drawn to the strict provisions in force regarding entry into Switzerland: the Swiss authorities refuse entry to people who do not have the required entry visa. Since 12 December 2008,
Switzerland has applied the Schengen Agreement regulations concerning visas. As a result,participants requiring a visa to enter Switzerland must obtain a Schengen visa from the Swiss embassy or Consulate General responsible for handling their visa application in their country of residence. In
countries where there is no Swiss representation, the visa application might have to be lodged in another country where the competent representation is located. Please note that Switzerland has also signed agreements with certain countries where it is not represented by a diplomatic or consular entity.
Under certain conditions these agreements allow for the issuing of visas by a Schengen State in a country where Switzerland is not represented. It is therefore strongly recommended that all participants check directly with the Swiss Embassy or Consulate General whether such agreements
apply in their case. Participants can find the nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate General responsible for their place of residence by consulting the following link: https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/laender-reise-information.html
Delivery of a Schengen visa may take up to 20 days, so any visa application should be lodged well in advance of the expected date of travel. It is recommended that participants apply for a Schengen Type C visa, which entitles the holder to visit or transit other Schengen States, including
neighbouring France. Exceptional cases may arise when this type of visa does not allow entry to all Schengen States. We therefore strongly advise everyone to check their type of visa before travelling to
or transiting through other Schengen States.
Applicants must attach a visa support letter to their application. Requests for a visa support
letter should be sent, as soon as possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the name of the applicant
as stated in the passport, function/title, employer, date of birth, nationality, passport number
and details (date and place of issue and validity) and a copy of the delegate’s credential.
ACCESS TO THE PALAIS DES NATIONS FOR THE HEALTH ASSEMBLY
The Health Assembly will meet in the Assembly block of the Palais des Nations. The Assembly
block is conveniently reached by Doors (Portes) 13 and 15. The plenary meetings will be held in the
Assembly Hall (Salle des Assemblées), which can be reached by stairway or lift from Door 13 or
Door 15. The two main committees of the Health Assembly will meet in separate conference rooms,
Committee A in Conference Room XVIII and Committee B in Conference Room XVII. Both rooms
are located on the first floor of the E Building (Bâtiment E). Smoking is not allowed at the
Delegates and other participants will be able to collect their badges from the Distribution Desk
in the main lobby of WHO headquarters before the opening of the Health Assembly. The Distribution
Desk will be open at the following times:
– Thursday, 17 May, from 11:30 to 17:00
– Friday, 18 May, from 08:00 to 17:00
– Saturday, 19 May, from 09:00 to 17:00, and
Sunday, 20 May, from 12:00 to 17:00
– Monday, 21 May, from 07:30 to 17:00
– Tuesday, 22 May, to Friday, 25 May, from 08:00 to 17:00
– Saturday, 26 May, from 09:00 to the closure of the Health Assembly.
Please note that only those individuals whose names appear on a valid credential will be
issued with an access badge. Access to the Palais des Nations and the meeting rooms will be
restricted to persons wearing WHA71 badges. For security reasons, the access badge must be
worn and visible to United Nations Office at Geneva security staff at all times.
A shuttle service will be available to take delegates from WHO’s main entrance to the Palais.
The shuttle will run from 07:00 to 18:00 daily and may be used by delegates of Member States
The Enquiry Office is located in the “Concordia” lobby, situated between Doors 13 and 15
(ext. 76300). It provides guidance on a range of matters of interest to participants, and will direct them
to other services such as travel, mail, finance and communications. Personal mail can also be collected
there. Lost property may be handed in or claimed at this office.
LIST OF DELEGATES
A provisional list of delegates and other participants (document A71/DIV./1) will be available
only on the WHO website (http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_wha71.html) at the beginning of the Health
Assembly (paper copies will not be distributed). This list will be issued on the basis of the credentials
received by the Secretariat up to 16:00 on Sunday, 20 May. A revised list will be posted on the WHO
website later. In the event of any official change in delegation membership, delegations are kindly
requested to notify the Enquiry Office in writing on form WHO23 WHA, which is available at the
Enquiry Office. The form should be signed by the chief delegate.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR CONDUCT OF DISCUSSION IN PLENARY MEETINGS
In 1997 the Health Assembly approved arrangements for the conduct of the general discussion
in plenary meetings, which have the following implications for the Seventy-first World Health
Individual statements in plenary meetings are limited to 5 minutes (550 words) and regional
statements to 10 minutes (1100 words). Delegates are requested to deliver statements at a normal
speaking pace. Rapid delivery risks impeding clarity and accuracy in interpretation.
Timing will be regulated through the use of “traffic lights”, visible to the whole room, which
turn orange after 4 minutes and red after 5.
Statements should focus on the theme of “Health for all: commit to universal health coverage”.
Delegates wishing to have their names placed on the list of speakers for the general
discussion should notify the Department for Governing Bodies by email (email@example.com).
Delegates may opt for group or regional statements in lieu of individual statements.
Copies of statements to be made in the general discussion should be submitted to the Office of
the Assistant to the Secretary of the Health Assembly, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or to
room A.656, or in the Assembly Hall, where the plenary meetings are held, by the morning of
Monday, 21 May 2018. When submitting by email, please specify in the “Subject” and at the top of
the statement, the name of the country and the meeting: “General Discussion”.
INTERVENTIONS OF DELEGATES IN COMMITTEE A AND COMMITTEE B
Individual statements in Committees A and B are limited to 3 minutes (330 words) and regional
statements to 5 minutes (550 words). Delegates are requested to deliver statements at a normal
speaking pace. Rapid delivery risks impeding clarity and accuracy in interpretation.
Delegates wishing to have their name placed on the list of speakers in Committee A or
Committee B, or to have draft resolutions and draft decisions distributed, should contact the Secretary
of the Committee concerned (shown below).
Committee A: Secretary: Mr I. Roberts office E.1066, ext. 77123
Committee B: Secretary: Dr C. Ondari office E.2070, ext. 77122
INTERPRETATION AND STATEMENTS
Interpretation is provided in the official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian
and Spanish) to help delegates to follow the discussions. Delegates are requested to send a copy of
statements they plan to make to email@example.com or to give a paper copy to the conference officers in
the room at least 30 minutes in advance. This does not prevent delegates from making changes on
delivery but will facilitate clarity and accuracy in all languages. When submitting by email, please
specify in the “Subject” and at the top of the statement, the name of the country/group, the meeting
(for example, Plenary, Committee A, Committee B, Executive Board) and the relevant agenda item
number. Delegates are requested to deliver statements at a normal speaking pace. Rapid delivery risks
impeding clarity and accuracy in interpretation. Statements provided in advance are treated as
confidential and checked against delivery for the purpose of the official record.
Delegates wishing to have their statements posted on the Health Assembly webpage
(http://apps.who.int/gb/statements/WHA71/) or to share a longer statement containing additional
information may send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information provided in this manner will
not be included in the official record of the meeting.1
SUBMISSIONS BY DELEGATIONS
Delegations wishing to have draft resolutions and draft decisions distributed to the Health
Assembly or to one of its committees are requested to hand them to the Assistant to the Secretary of
the Health Assembly in the case of documents intended for plenary meetings, or to the secretary of the
committee concerned in the case of documents intended for one of the committees. Rule 50 of the
Rules of Procedure of the World Health Assembly requires circulation of draft resolutions to
delegations at least two days before the proposal is discussed. Thus, texts should be handed in early
enough to allow time for translation and reproduction in the working languages. The Secretariat is
available upon request to provide information, logistics and editorial support as required. The
conditions in which formal proposals relating to items on the agenda may be introduced in plenary
meetings and the main committees are set out in Rules 48 and 50 of the Rules of Procedure of the
World Health Assembly.
DELEGATES’ CONSENT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED/FILMED
Representatives of Member States and Associate Members, including their alternates and
advisers, as well as any other participants in sessions of the World Health Assembly/Executive Board
acknowledge that the WHO Secretariat and parties acting for the WHO Secretariat may take
photographs during and/or videotape all or part of public meetings of the World Health
Assembly/Executive Board. By attending the World Health Assembly/Executive Board,
representatives of Member States and Associate Members, including their alternates and advisers, as
well as any other participants, are held to have consented to being depicted in such photographs and
videotapes, and to agree that WHO may, at its sole discretion, reproduce and publicly disseminate any
of these photographs and/or any such video footage on its website and/or in other materials and
through other outlets, and/or authorize third parties to do the same.
The Journal of the Health Assembly, published each day, gives the time, place and programme
of meetings, the agenda items for discussion and the corresponding documents, and other relevant
See documents EB136/6 and EB136/2015/REC 2, summary records of the fourth meeting.
Official records of the Executive Board
Several documents already considered by the Executive Board at its 141st and 142nd sessions are
referred to under the relevant items in both the Journal and the provisional agenda (document A71/1).
The Constitution of WHO and other relevant documents of a legal nature are contained in the
publication entitled Basic documents (48th edition, 2014), an updated, online version of which is also
available on the Governance page of the WHO website (http://apps.who.int/gb/bd/PDF/bd48/basicdocuments-48th-edition-en.pdf).
The WHO website (Governance page (http://apps.who.int/gb/gov/)) provides easy electronic
access to documentation, such as the Rules of Procedure of the World Health Assembly, and offers
options to download documents for the current meetings of the governing bodies and to consult
documents of previous sessions and other relevant documentation.
Since documentation is available on the WHO website, and as an economy measure, there will
be no provision for dispatch or transport of any documentation made available during the Health
Documentation may also be downloaded using the QR codes displayed at the documents
distribution counter, the Distribution Desk for badges, the entrance to the Assembly Hall and inside
the committee conference rooms.
DISTRIBUTION OF DOCUMENTS
A document distribution service operates at the counter in the “Concordia” lobby, located
between Doors 13 and 15 of the Palais des Nations.
NON-STATE ACTORS IN OFFICIAL RELATIONS WITH WHO: LIAISON OFFICE
A liaison office is set up in room A.235 (ext. 77325) to facilitate the participation of non-State
actors in the Health Assembly. The document Practical information for representatives of non-State
actors in official relations with the World Health Organization, transmitted to non-State actors with
the invitation letter to the Health Assembly, provides information of particular relevance to delegates
of non-State actors, concerning such matters as registration, document display and statements by nonState
Room A.817 (ext. 77227) will be available for use by non-State actors on a first-come, firstserved
basis during the Health Assembly. It will be equipped with paper, computers, printers and
telephones (for local calls). The computers can be used for word processing and accessing the internet.
Photocopying facilities will also be available, free of charge for limited numbers of copies. The room
will be open from 08:30 to 18:30.
Non-State actors in official relations with WHO may participate, without right of vote, in the
Health Assembly. Seating in the plenary meetings has been reserved in the galleries on the fifth floor,
which may be reached by using the lifts close to Doors 13 and 15. For Committees A and B seating
has been reserved in the wings of the rooms. Each Committee has a “speaker” seat for those non-State
actors whose requests to speak have been accepted by the Chairman.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND TAXIS
From Monday to Friday WHO can be reached by bus “8” which runs from Veyrier to OMS
(WHO headquarters, Avenue Appia), passing through Rive (town centre), Place de Montbrillant
(behind railway station) and Place des Nations (Palais des Nations). At weekends, this bus runs only as
far as Avenue Appia. WHO can also be reached by bus “F”, which runs daily from Place de
Montbrilland (behind the railway station) to Ferney-Voltaire, France, with stops at Place des Nations
and OMS, next to the headquarters building. In addition, bus “5” runs daily from Thonex to Aeroport,
with stops at Place Cornavin and Place des Nations, and bus “28” runs from Jardin Botanique with
stops at Appia for UNOG Palais des Nations, Pregny Gate, and OMS for headquarters.
Tram “15” runs daily from Palettes to Place des Nations, passing by Cornavin station.
Tickets must be purchased and validated before entering buses or trams. Individual tickets are
available from vending machines at main bus stops. Electronic cards for multiple trips may be
purchased from the Naville kiosk at the Palais des Nations, any newsagent in town bearing the “TPG”
sign, and at the main railway station (Cornavin).
Geneva International Airport is offering a free ticket for public transport in Geneva. This
Unireso ticket, which can be obtained from the machine in the baggage collection area at the
“Arrivals” level, allows 80 minutes’ use of public transport free of charge, including the train service
from the airport to the main railway station.
In addition, a “Geneva Transport Card” can be obtained by delegates from the establishment at
which they are staying, enabling them to use public transport free of charge during their visit. Further
information about this card is available from the Geneva Tourism and Convention Bureau (accessible
Geneva taxi drivers know the headquarters building as “OMS” (Avenue Appia).
There are taxi ranks in almost all the main squares in Geneva and outside the Palais des Nations.
Taxis can be called by telephone by dialling the following numbers: +41 22 320 2020, +41 22 320 2202
and +41 22 331 4133. Taxis can also be ordered through the security guard on duty at the entrance gate
on Route de Pregny.
A very limited number of parking spaces is available for delegates’ cars with “World Health
Assembly” stickers, on a first-come, first-served basis. The spaces are in reserved areas in car park
P10, near Door 40, at the Palais des Nations. Requests on the part of Permanent Missions for
temporary ground passes for their drivers and for access authorization for rental or replacement
vehicles must be sent through a “Note Verbale” to the United Nations Office at Geneva Identification
and Garage Management Unit (ID Unit). The Note Verbale, with inclusion of a copy of the vehicle
registration documents (Carte grise) as well as a copy of each temporary driver’s passport or ID card,
should include the following items:
Name of the driver (first and last name as marked on the passport/ID card)
Number plate of vehicle
Make of vehicle
Type of vehicle
Colour of vehicle.
The Note Verbale can be sent to the ID Unit via fax, +41 22 917 0494 or to the ID Unit’s direct
email UNOGID@UNOG.CH. Please note that this is for vehicles and temporary drivers for the
Seventy-first World Health Assembly ONLY.
RESTAURANT, CAFETERIA AND BAR
The restaurant on the eighth floor of the Assembly block is open from 12:00 to 14:30 from
Monday to Friday, including Monday 21 May (public holiday) (ext. 71108 for reservations). The
restaurant can organize private receptions and luncheons for a minimum of 25 participants. These
services can also be provided on Saturdays and Sundays (conditions apply). Arrangements for dinners
should be discussed with Eldora/UN (ext. 71108).
The cafeteria, which is on the ground floor of the Assembly block, and to which there is direct
access by Lift 29, is open from 08:15 to 15:00, Monday to Friday, and from 11:30 to 14:30 on
Saturday. Hot meals are served from 11:30 to 14:30.
The snack bar in the “Concordia” lobby, between Doors 13 and 15, is open from 07:30 to 18:00
or until the close of meetings (on Saturday, 26 May, it will be open from 07:30 to 09:00).
The Delegates’ Lounge, adjacent to Conference Room VII on the third floor, is open from 08:30
to 16:45, Monday to Friday, and also serves snacks.
The Bar du Serpent, located on the first floor of the E Building, is open from 08:30 to 17:30,
Monday to Friday or until the close of meetings (on Saturday, 26 May, it will be open from 09:00 to
12:30); it also serves sandwiches.
The Pasta corner, adjacent to the Bar du Serpent, is open daily from 11:30 to 14:30, including
Monday 21 May 2018 (public holiday).
Delegates and other participants in the Health Assembly may also use the restaurant and
cafeteria at WHO. They are open from Monday to Friday between 11:00 and 14:30.
RESERVATION OF ROOMS FOR PRIVATE MEETINGS
Requests by delegates for the reservation of conference rooms at the Palais des Nations for
private meetings may be addressed to Conference Services at WHO (room 9016, ext. 14004 or
email@example.com) before the opening of the Health Assembly, or to the Room Reservation Service
(room A.237, ext. 77120), on the second floor of the Palais des Nations, from Monday, 21 May.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR RECEPTIONS AT WHO
The WHO restaurant can organize receptions and luncheons; arrangements can be made by
contacting WHO headquarters (room 9016, ext. 14090). In order to avoid overlapping, delegations
intending to arrange receptions are urged to consult the Department for Governing Bodies.
As from 21 May, arrangements can also be made by contacting room A.237 (ext. 77120), on the
second floor of the Palais des Nations.
Newspapers, magazines, books, postcards and other items are on sale at the main kiosk in the
hall near Door 6. It is open Monday to Friday from 08:15 to 17:00. It will be closed on Monday
21 May (public holiday).
The post office, located near Door 6, is open from 08:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. It provides
normal services including monetary operations such as giro payments and postal and money orders.
There is another post office at WHO headquarters, which is open from 08:30 to 11:30 and 12:30 to
16:30, Monday to Friday. It will be closed on Monday 21 May (public holiday).
Delegates who wish to stamp their mail with United Nations Postal Administration stamps
should apply to the Administration’s office, which is in the entrance hall near Door 6.
Correspondence addressed to delegates c/o WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, can be collected from the
Geneva can generally be regarded as a safe city with a low rate of violent crime. However,
pickpocketing and snatching of handbags or mobile phones do occur in the vicinity of, or within, the
train and bus stations, the airport and in public parks.
Delegates are advised to take the following precautions when moving around the city:
• stay alert – watch your luggage and briefcase;
• avoid walking alone at night – keep to well-lit areas;
• be aware of individuals posing as police – always ask for proper identification before
surrendering your passport or complying with any requests;
• be particularly vigilant at the airport, train station and when checking into your hotel;
• never leave anything on car seats: doing so attracts the attention of thieves;
• never leave valuables in a parked car.
Geneva emergency telephone numbers are:
• police 117
• ambulance service 144
• fire 118
• roadside assistance 140.
If you face a security-related emergency at WHO headquarters, please contact WHO security by
phone at ext. 11117 (+41 22 791 1117) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Security screening has increased for both vehicles and pedestrians seeking access to the Palais
des Nations. Please ensure that you are in possession of the necessary accreditation in order to
WHO cannot be held responsible for the loss of personal objects left unattended at meetings.
Telephones are available in the Palais.
1. Calls inside the Palais des Nations
(a) Lift the receiver and wait for the dialling tone
(b) Dial the required five-digit extension beginning with 7
2. Calls from the Palais des Nations to WHO
EITHER (a) Lift the receiver and wait for the
(b) Dial 62
(c) Dial the five-digit extension
required (see WHO telephone
OR (a) Lift the receiver and wait for the
(b) Dial 0 and wait for the second
(c) Dial 022-79 followed
immediately by the five-digit
extension required in WHO.
If the extension number is not known, dial the WHO switchboard number (62-99 or 62-11111).
3. Local calls within the Geneva area
(a) Lift the receiver and wait for the dialling tone
(b) Dial 0 and wait for the second dialling tone
(c) Dial 022 and the required number within the Geneva area
REIMBURSEMENT OF AIR TICKETS AND RESERVATIONS FOR RETURN
Delegates of least developed countries entitled to reimbursement of their air tickets are
requested to apply to the Travel Desk, between Doors 13 and 15. Tickets, invoices and passports must
be presented before reimbursement can be made. The process of reimbursement takes at least
Delegates who need to reconfirm their return flights may do so at the Carlson Wagonlit Travel
office on level 2 of the E Building near Door 40. Opening hours are 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
The UBS branch near Door 6 is open from 08:30 to 16:30 from Monday to Friday. It will be
closed on Monday 21 May (public holiday). An ATM machine is available on the second floor of the
E building near Door 41.
A nurse will be on duty from 08:00 to 18:00, at the WHO headquarters Medical Service
(tel. +41 22 791 3040) for non-emergency medical consultations.
For a medical emergency during the working hours of the United Nations Medical Service
(08:00 to 17:00), the United Nations medical emergency protocol will be applied. After 17:00 the
emergency number 144 will be called.
Delegates requiring urgent medical attention when they are not in the conference buildings are
advised to dial 144 for medical or ambulance services.
WHO publications can be purchased from the WHO Press sales counter located in the
“Concordia” lobby between Doors 13 and 15 at the Palais des Nations and from the WHO Bookshop
at headquarters. A 50% discount is granted to delegates. WHO souvenirs are also available. Opening
hours are 09:00 to 16:30.
The WHO Library located in the WHO main hall provides access to information on WHO, as
well as other sources of scientific literature produced around the world in digital and print format.
WHO Library resources are accessible on a 24-hour basis. Nine computer stations are available – with
printing option, internet and intranet access, and access to major WHO applications. Work, study and
informal meeting areas, as well as staff with reference and research expertise, are available Monday to
Friday from 09:00 to 16:00. The WHO Library guarantees staffing of the information point from 09:00
to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday. However, do not hesitate to visit the Library
reference area, as library staff are always willing to assist any time between 07:00 and 19:00, based on
staff availability (http://www.who.int/library). Requests for an appointment or for information can be
sent in advance by emailing LNK@who.int.
THE “CYBERCAFÉ” AND INTERNET ACCESS
Delegates are invited to visit the WHO Cybercafé, located in the Bar du Serpent in the
E Building (Palais des Nations). Workstations will be available, providing full access to the internet,
including the WHO website (http://www.who.int). The Cybercafé and all the meeting rooms will also
be equipped with wireless hotspots, allowing visitors to connect to the internet with their own
Another Cybercafé catering exclusively for Health Assembly delegates will also be available on
the eighth floor of the A Building.
Source: The WHO