8. Liaison with the World Health Organization and related organizations

8.1.  Relationship with WHO

The International Epidemiological Association has the status of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in official relation with the World Health Organization. Liaison with WHO is implemented at central level through an IEA representative designated by Council as liaison officer and at regional level through the Regional Councilors. The Association’s Council provides guidance on the level of resources and personal time of officers to be allocated to liaison activities.


8.1.1.  Central level (Geneva headquarters) 

   • The Association is invited to send an observer to the sessions of the WHO Executive Board, taking place every year in January, and to the session of the World Health Assembly in May. 
   • The Association may be invited to send representation to special meetings of interest for epidemiologists, e.g. on the assessment and control of the worldwide tobacco epidemic.
   • Links are kept with the WHO Officer in charge of the relations with the Association, to examine opportunities for collaborative initiatives between the Association and WHO, such as epidemiology courses or joint publications.
   • WHO representatives, often at the highest levels, are invited to the Association’s Congress.
   • A report of activity is periodically requested of the Association, describing those initiatives which are of relevance to WHO as well as all collaborative work and participation of the Association’s representatives in WHO activities and of WHO representatives in the Association’s initiatives. These reports are the basis for WHO to evaluate whether the status of NGO in official relation with WHO is worth maintaining.

 8.1.2 Regional level 

   • The Association is invited to send an observer to attend the Regional Committee sessions that take place every year in each of the six WHO Regions of the world. WHO policies for the countries of the Region are discussed and approved in the Committees.
   • The Association may be invited to special regional meetings or to collaborate in the organization of courses.
   • WHO representatives, often at the highest levels, are regularly invited to the Association’s regional conferences.
   • Relationships like those with the Regional Offices are established with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a specialized WHO research agency located in Lyon, France.

8.2. Other NGO relationships

Several NGOs based in Geneva have on one side close working relationships with WHO, and on the other side, develop initiatives which may be of direct interest to the Association. Relationships may be developed with such organizations, such as the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), which is responsible for issuing international ethical guidelines for epidemiological studies, recognized by WHO as a key reference.