Geneva is often referred to as the world’s global health capital. It hosts the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance. It is in Geneva that ideas and actions are shaped which subsequently have a significant impact on the health of billions.
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS, is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV epidemic. The mission of UNAIDS is to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to HIV and AIDS that includes preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support to those already living with the virus, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV and alleviating the impact of the epidemic. UNAIDS seeks to prevent the HIV/AIDS epidemic from becoming a severe pandemic.
The Global Fund is a global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation is a global public/private partnership, created to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries. Partners include developing country and donor governments, WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society organisations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Staff of the Permanent Mission and of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health participate regularly at the World Health Assembly, which takes place each year in May at WHO Headquarters. They also are active participants at the WHO Executive Board Meetings and at the Programme and Coordination Boards (PCB) of UNAIDS. In these organisations they represent the interests of Austria and pursue the goal of enhancing the global response to the world’s most pressing health issues.