WHO CCs are institutions designated by the Director-General to form part of an international collaborative network carrying out activities in support of the Organization’s programme at all levels.
The designation recognizes both a history of collaboration with WHO and provides a formal framework for future joint activities. It is a time-limited agreement of collaboration between WHO and the designated institution through which the latter agrees to implement a series of concrete activities specifically designed for WHO.
WHO CCs are key institutions with relevant expertise distributed throughout the world. They represent a valuable resource as an extended and integral arm of WHO's capacity to implement its mandated work.
The WHO CCs are a highly valued mechanism of cooperation in which selected institutions are recognized by WHO to assist the Organization with implementing its mandated work. This is accomplished by supporting the achievement of planned strategic objectives at the regional and global levels; enhancing the scientific validity of its global health work; and developing and strengthening institutional capacity in countries and regions.
Since WHO CCs assist the Organization in implementing its mandated work, all activities carried out by an institution designated as WHO CC must be clearly linked to the WHO strategic plans and reflected in the workplans of the technical programmes to which they contribute.
After at least two years of successful collaboration with WHO in carrying out jointly planned activities, and if warranted by WHO technical programmes’ needs, WHO may propose the designation of an institution as a WHO CC. Spontaneous applications or self-nominations by institutions are not accepted.
The following formally established institutions (or, more commonly, parts thereof) may be eligible for designation: universities, research institutes, hospitals or academies. In addition, parts of Governments may be eligible for designation. Designations should be as specific as possible: normally only the concerned department, division, laboratory or unit of the institution that collaborates with WHO may be designated. Although eligible institutions can be public or private, institutions should not be of commercial or profit-making nature. Neither joint centers (i.e. two or more institutions, or two or more parts of the same institution, sharing a single designation as a WHO CC) nor multi-site centers (i.e. multiple branches or offices of one institution in different locations) qualify for designation.
In order to be considered, eligible institutions must fulfill all of the following criteria:
Designations cannot be transferred from one institution to another, nor can they be transferred from one part of an institution to another. For instance, in cases where the staff members working on the activities of a WHO collaborating center move to a different institution, the designation remains with the original institution, it does not follow the staff.