WHO’s work with countries

Cooperation among countries

Cooperation among countries can help solve joint problems, and share knowledge and best practices

It often emerges around 3 common vectors:

  • common challenges that extend beyond national borders;
  • political, cultural, religious and economic commonalities that foster integration;
  • inter-country engagement in regional and/or global processes.

Many countries experience similar health challenges and concerns. Cooperation among countries can be an effective tool to strengthen, share and accelerate health development within countries and across regions. It involves creating, adapting, transferring and sharing knowledge and experiences to improve health – while also making the most of existing resources and capacities.

WHO facilitates cooperation among countries around their shared challenges and concerns to achieve public health solutions. Over the years, many have made important strides in addressing shared health goals through cooperation with others.

Development cooperation effectiveness

Within this landscape of cooperation among countries, there has been a shift away from official development assistance, towards a new paradigm – development cooperation effectiveness.

The objective of development cooperation is to not foster dependence on donor-to-recipient aid, but instead to focus on national ownership, partners acting together, and alignment with national plans and priorities.

There is a growing need to harness the capacity of countries and to understand exchanges among countries – to pursue common health objectives.

The benefits of cooperation

At the national level, cooperation among countries can support and reinforce national efforts for health development and also enrich perspectives on best practices and lessons learnt in other countries.

These exchanges have the potential to impact subregional and regional integration processes as well as global health policy debates.

Country and regional cooperation

Countries and regions have established a number of cooperation models to share their knowledge and experiences to address similar health challenges. A few include:

South-South and triangular cooperation

This refers to the exchange of expertise in developing nations. In the health sector, it promotes equitable inter-country and inter-regional development, and combats common health sector challenges.

Cooperation among BRICS countries

WHO’s cooperation in and with BRICS is evolving to accommodate the specific needs, priorities and capacities of these countries and their people.

Health cooperation in Small Island Developing States

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.