World Health Organization and Australia forge new strategic partnership

Joint media release of the Australian Government Department of Health and WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Government today launched their first ever country cooperation strategy, on the sidelines of the sixty-eighth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, which opened this morning.

The Australia-WHO strategy is the first in the Region to focus on how WHO and a high-income country can better work together.

It provides a vision for the Organization’s joint work with Australia over the next five years to improve the health of Australians and contribute to better health for people in the broader region and beyond.

Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, and the Honourable Greg Hunt, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport of Australia, personally launched the Australia–WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2018–2022 at the Regional Committee.

“This strategy is the first of its kind, but it builds on a history of strong cooperation, and looks towards the future,” said Dr Shin.

“I sincerely thank Minister Hunt and the Department of Health for their commitment to this strategy – and for paving the way for other high-income countries in this Region, with a new form of engagement that goes beyond the traditional donor country relationship.”

Minister Hunt said partnerships such as the Country Cooperation Strategy placed Australia at the forefront of international best practice in health policy.

“This strategy strengthens our systems to guard against emerging diseases at home and abroad, boosts our public health capacities and improves our already robust regulations to ensure we have safe and effective medicines and treatments,” Minister Hunt said.

Traditionally, country cooperation strategies are established between WHO and developing countries, where the Organization has offices and provides direct support.

The strategy launched today represents a new way of doing things, aimed not only at improving the health of Australians, but also at leveraging the experience and expertise available in Australia to boost support for other countries in the Region.

The strategy is framed around three foundations of cooperation:

  • WHO contributes to better health for all Australians, in particular through its work to set international norms and standards on how best to prevent and manage disease;
  • Australia contributes to regional and global health by sharing expertise and experience with other countries, facilitated by WHO; and
  • Australia and WHO work in partnership to promote and contribute to better health for all people.

The strategic priorities have been identified for the CCS:

  • Enhancing health security, with a focus on strengthening resilience to threats such as priority infectious diseases, emerging disease outbreaks and other emergencies with health consequences
  • Promoting people-centred health systems and universal health coverage (UHC), with a focus on exchanging information and expertise in health systems policy; and
  • Strengthening health regulation, to benefit from Australia’s expertise in this area.

Notes to editors

Media enquiries for WHO, contact: Mr Ruel Serrano, Mobile: +63 908 891 4532, Email:

Media inquiries for the Australian Department of Health, contact: Ms Kay McNiece, Mobile: +61 412 132 585, Email:

Media who wish to attend the Regional Committee at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre are required to register for accreditation.

The 68th session of the Regional Committee can be viewed live on the WHO website ( and updates are being posted on the @WHOWPRO Twitter account with the hashtag #RCM68.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations agency responsible for public health. WHO works with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people. Made up of 194 Member States, WHO’s headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland; there are six Regional Offices, and more than 150 country offices around the world. The Regional Office for the Western Pacific is in Manila, Philippines.

Each of the six WHO regions has its own regional committee—composed of ministers of health and senior officials from Member States—which meets annually. In the Western Pacific Region, the Regional Committee takes place in Manila or in a host country in alternate years.

The 37 countries and areas of the WHO Western Pacific Region are: American Samoa (USA), Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), Guam (USA), Hong Kong SAR (China), Japan, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Macao SAR (China), Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Nauru, New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Niue, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (USA), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands (UK), Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, and Wallis and Futuna (France).