The director general is the WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer, and oversees the organisation’s international health work. The successful candidate will take office in July 2017 and replace the incumbent Dr Margaret Chan, who has held the position since 2006.
A total number of six candidates nominated by Member States were announced on 23 September 2016. The candidates include current and former government ministers and academics:
- Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s foreign minister and former health minister
- Dr Flavia Bustreo from Italy (currently WHO’s assistant director general for family, women’s and children’s health)
- Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy, former health minister and present foreign minister of France
- Dr David Nabarro from the UK, sustainable development adviser to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon
- Dr Sania Nishtar, Pakistan’s former health minister
- Dr Miklós Szócska, Hungary’s former minister of health
In October, Member States and candidates will be given the opportunity to interact in a password-protected web forum hosted on the WHO website.
On 1–2 November, a live forum will be held, at which candidates will present their vision to WHO Member States and will also be able to answer questions on their candidacy. The candidates’ forum will be webcast on the WHO website in all official languages.
In January 2017, WHO’s Executive Board will draw up a short list of 5 candidates. Executive Board members will then interview these candidates and nominate 3 of them to go forward to the World Health Assembly in May 2017.
At the Seventieth World Health Assembly, Member States will vote in a new Director-General, who will take office on 1 July 2017.
Note: on the 3rd of November the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, will be running an event Question Time: Electing the Next Director-General of the World Health Organization this will be an opportunity for non-governmental stakeholders – medical professionals, academics, non-governmental organizations and the private sector – to hear from the candidates and put questions to them.