France and the WHO


France’s main aim is to improve public health and international health security. That is why, in coordination with its partners, it has developed a fruitful strategic partnership with WHO

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, France is striving to strengthen international health security, by focusing on the full implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR)

WHO, a key player in the fight against COVID-19
France supports the action of WHO, which is central and vital to a global and coordinated response to the pandemic.

"The World Health Organization is a pillar of the multilateral order which was founded in the wake of the Second World War and is now the only truly universal public health organization. It is therefore essential in efforts to confront a pandemic, which is, by nature, itself universal.” (Jean-Yves le Drian, 29/04/2020)

France’s aim internationally is coordination, cooperation and solidarity, which means joint action of States alongside WHO and multilateral funds working in the field, especially in the most vulnerable countries (see: COVID-19: assistance for Africa).

France supports the WHO strategic COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that serves as a compass for all countries.

What are our health priorities?

France shares basic health priorities with WHO.

  • A cross-cutting approach that considers universal health coverage (UHC) a priority as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This model is inspired by the French health system, which was established in 1945 with the creation of social security.
  • The need (underlined by the France’s Strategy for Global Health) to strengthen health systems and emergency preparedness. To realize the UHC, more solid health systems need to be built in all countries. This is in line with the ambitious “triple billion” goals announced in the WHO Thirteenth General Programme of Work, 2019-2023.
  • Efforts to make international health security and the fight against epidemic and pandemic diseases one of the five priorities of the 2020-2025 Framework Agreement between France and WHO.

How is France supporting WHO?

France, a major global health player It supports the WHO’s role of global health coordinator and contributes more than €500 million a year in multilateral funds that it has helped create including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Unitaidand the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

France and WHO are working in five priority areas for cooperation.

  • Establishing and developing the WHO Academy which aims to improve the training of health professionals;
  • Strengthening health systems to achieve universal health coverage;
  • Providing better protection of populations facing emergency health situations, especially by strengthening health systems, fighting epidemic outbreaks and diseases that could become pandemics and implementing the International Health Regulations (IHR), including through activities conducted by the WHO Lyon Office;
  • Improving public health and well-being through prevention, health promotion, health education, health literacy and the reduction of risk factors, in connection with non-communicable diseases and environmental health factors;
  • Focusing on health-related SDGs, taking into account the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Global Action Plan for SDG 3.

France is one of the WHO’s main contributors. It is the 12th-largest contributor to the WHO budget.

The WHO Lyon Office

Created in 2000, the WHO Lyon Office helps countries to strengthen their national surveillance and response systems to better detect, assess and report public health risks of international concern.

It plays a vital role in the international surveillance of infectious diseases and in the drafting of WHO recommendations to prevent and tackle them.