Learn about the WHO-DG Election and cast your own vote with us

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is electing its next Director-General (DG) in May 2017. The DG is one of the key leadership positions, particularly for health. WHO provides both a technical and political leadership in the world. Advertently, it has become quite challenging for WHO to operate in a very competitive global health environment--financing and governance are the top challenges, of many, the organization is facing. The next WHO leader will need to face these obstacles.

This particular election is an unprecedented opportunity for all actors, including the public, to engage with the WHO DG Election (#WHOElection). There are ongoing public events to engage with the candidates and get to know their platforms. Even the candidates themselves have created social media strategies, including websites and Twitter accounts, to increase opportunities for broader engagement and have also been featured in the Lancet.

There has also been an effort to equip decision makers and the global health community with relevant knowledge related to needs of global health and the “ideal” global health leader through articles and polls. These efforts have been driven by the work of the Global Health Centre (GHC) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and the Blavatnik School of Government of the University of Oxford, Chatham House, the Lancet, Council on Foreign Relations, Women Deliver and Rockefeller Foundation, to name a few. Women in Global Health is joining this dialogue by bringing attention to the gender equality platform.

Why does it matter for Women in Global Health?

Whilst discussions around gender and gender equality featured greatly in the lead up to the selection of the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) earlier this year, the role of gender in the DG election has been relatively absent. Though the WHO is outpacing the UNSG's office in the attainment of women in top leadership positions, there is still a long way to go in addressing gender equality and parity throughout the WHO secretariat and within its political processes. A feminist and gender responsive WHO will not only be an improved and more equal space, it will also be effective at addressing the health concerns of all populations.

How does it work?

First, Member States propose a candidate from their country. While 194 Member States have the opportunity, just six submissions were received for this term.

Next, a forum is held to discuss each candidates' vision and present themselves to the WHO Member States and the public. Candidates also have the opportunity to answer questions posed by Member States.

In January 2017, WHO's Executive Board will shortlist five candidates maximum. Next, they will interview each of the candidates and select up to three to be voted on by Member States at the World Health Assembly 2017. The new Director-General will take office on July 1, 2017.

Still want to know more? Check out the WHO's FAQ about the process here.

Who are the candidates?​


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