Copyright, Licensing and Permissions

WHO supports open access to the published output of its activities as a fundamental part of its mission and a public benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.

WHO’s open access applies to:

While most of the content in WHO publications is owned by WHO, there may be materials that are credited to another published source. Permission will normally be required from the originating publisher to reproduce such materials. Please refer to the copyright notice in the publication concerned for complete information.

Permissions and licensing

Permission from WHO is not required for the use of WHO materials issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Intergovernmental Organization (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO) licence.

It is important to note that:

• WHO publications cannot be used to promote or endorse products, services or any specific organization.
• WHO logo cannot be used without written authorization from WHO.
• WHO provides no warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. In no event shall WHO be liable for damages arising from the use of WHO publications.

The  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence allows users to freely copy, reproduce, reprint, distribute, translate and adapt the work for non-commercial purposes, provided WHO is acknowledged as the source using the following suggested citation:

[Title]. [Place of publication]: World Health Organization; [Year]. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

The use of WHO materials that are not available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence is subject to permission being granted by WHO. Some of the uses of such materials are:

• reproduction and translation of figures, tables, maps, photos, etc.
• reprint and translation of complete works.
• licensing of materials or other technical information in electronic database products and services.

To request permission to use such materials, please complete the following permissions form.

Translations and adaptations

If you create an adaptation or a translation of a WHO publication available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence, the following disclaimer should be included, as applicable:

For translations: “This translation was not created by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this translation. The original English edition “[Title]. Geneva: World Health Organization; [Year]. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO” shall be the binding and authentic edition”.

For adaptations: “This is an adaptation of an original work “[Title]. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO); [Year]. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO”. This adaptation was not created by WHO. WHO is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this adaptation. The original edition shall be the binding and authentic edition”.

The adaptation or translation must be licensed under the same or similar licence terms. Note that the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence can only be used by organizations established by a treaty or other instrument governed by international law and possessing its own international legal personality, and that are not subject to national laws, such as United Nations agencies, Intergovernmental organizations and International Organizations.

Similar licences that could be used are the  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence or the  CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.

Commercial uses

Permission is required for commercial uses and licensing of WHO materials, such as using the material in the context of a commercial activity. Requests can be made by completing the following permissions form.

Licensing of WHO Classifications

  • the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), 
  • the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF),
  • and the International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI).  

These Classifications are now available on the ICD-11 platform They are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 IGO (CC BY-ND 3.0 IGO) license and may be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes, provided there is no adaptation of the codes and the work is appropriately cited. Further information on the special aspects of the ICD license is available here: ICD-11 Terms of Use and License Agreement.  

You can also access the codes via an API by registering here Proposals for amendments to ICD-11 can be submitted through our website

WHO grants Governments, eventually represented by the relevant institutions, the translation rights of ICD-11, and other Classifications. Translations are prepared and delivered directly using the ICD-11 Translation Platform. Requests for translations will require written agreements and should be submitted online via [email protected].

For further information, visit

Permissions request form

For requesting permission to reproduce, reprint or translate WHO copyrighted material

Linking guidelines

Links to the WHO web site