The Functions of an International Organization

The WHO has been reforming for years, tackling issues such as political friction and requiring staff to rotate between posts across the globe. But some observers paint these changes as cosmetic. In reality, the WHO is a vital and powerful global health organization, with six regional offices in 57 countries. The 2014 Ebola outbreak, for example, was hampered by a lack of coordination between WHO Africa and its Geneva office. It has now fixed the problems, but critics paint them as cosmetic.


An international organization performs a variety of functions. These include providing aid and services, bargaining forums, and mechanisms for cooperative behaviour. They can also serve useful purposes for individual states. Some individual states use them as instruments of foreign policy. However, the purposes and methods of assessment vary. Ultimately, it is difficult to judge the effectiveness of an organization without considering its purposes and objectives. This article examines the functions of the WHO. Let us begin by defining what these organizations do.

In the twentieth century, nations had already shown a willingness to cooperate on health policy issues. The WHO constitution lists twenty-two functions of the organization, focusing mostly on infectious diseases, but also addressing non-infectious diseases. While this list may seem overwhelming, the organization remains an indispensable institution. Therefore, its performance reflects the goals of its mission and the goals of its members. But what are the functions of the WHO?


In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a $2.3 billion budget, down four percent from 2017. More than half of WHO spending was devoted to base programmes, with the rest allocated to emergencies and special programmes. The budget includes a budget for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The United States has been a persistent voice against the UN budget, voting against about 40 percent of proposals. However, the organization is expected to increase its budget in the coming years.

While the United States currently contributes 25 percent of the total U.N. budget, Mr. Wolff’s government will consider voting against full U.N. budget presentations in the future. Moreover, a fiscal restaint is needed, as well as changes in the assessment structure. The United States pays around $100 million a year to the U.N., and if the organization is consolidated, it would have a single consolidated budget and a lower share of voluntary contributions.


The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations, with the mission of promoting health and protecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Founded in 1948, WHO headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization has 150 field offices worldwide, spread out across 6 regions. In addition to its headquarters, the World Health Organization maintains local field offices in many regions. Here’s how to find a WHO field office near you:

The World Health Organization’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, located on Avenue Appia, just a few blocks from the town center. The building serves as the main operation center of the organization, while the United Nations Office at Geneva is also located nearby. The Executive Board meets annually here to make decisions on the state of international public health. Switzerland was chosen as a neutral country so that the organization could maintain its headquarters and avoid the turmoil of World War II.


The United States is the top donor to WHO, but President Donald Trump has cut back on his funding in recent months. However, his country has remained one of the top payers in the world. President Trump has also withheld funding for the organization during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the U.S. is expected to contribute $109 million to the WHO, a decrease of nearly five percent from the previous year. Other contributors, including the United Nations and philanthropic foundations, make voluntary contributions. Some donors earmark voluntary contributions for specific causes. For instance, the United States owes $140 million to WHO, more than twice its annual mandatory contribution to the organization.

In addition, voluntary contributions do not go directly to WHO programs. The money is earmarked for specific projects and programs, which may not be in line with national interests and could even impede long-term planning. Moreover, excessive reliance on voluntary funding weakens the voice of poorer members, gives leverage to non-state actors, and compromises WHO’s integrity. However, some observers argue that the current system of voluntary funding is a good model.