Country strategy and support

Country strategy and support


Working with countries, territories and areas

WHO works with all Member States to support them to achieve the highest standard of health for all people. 

WHO has dedicated staff working in 149 country offices. These country teams advise ministries of health and other sectors on public health issues and provide support to plan, implement and monitor health programmes. 

We work closely with other United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, the private sector and affected communities to improve essential prevention, treatment and health care services. WHO country teams also support advocacy and resource mobilization efforts.

WHO acts as a knowledge broker and facilitates exchanges between countries, encouraging them to work together to pursue solutions to common challenges.


Department of Country Strategy and Support

WHO commits to put countries squarely at the centre of our work to ensure that support is relevant, flexible and effective and translates into measurable impact. 

The Department of Country Strategy and Support (CSS), based within the Office of the Director-General at WHO’s Headquarters, monitors and oversees this commitment and is responsible for providing clear strategic direction to strengthen substantively WHO’s work in countries. Our participatory approach involves many sectors and stakeholders and is based on WHO’s Global Programme of Work as well as national health policies and plans.

The Department collaborates with departments and offices across the entire Organization, and with external partners, to identify country needs and priorities and to support them towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the strategic priorities outlined in WHO’s Global Programme of Work.

With strong interconnections with all WHO offices in countries, territories and areas, the Department pursues new opportunities for putting and maintaining countries at the centre of WHO’s work, seeking efficiencies that improve the value that WHO delivers to people around the world. Our four core functions – strategic policy dialogue, country leadership, effective technical cooperation and country intelligence –  reinforce transformation of WHO’s operating model to achieve measurable impact in countries.

UNICEF Ethiopia/Meklit Mersha
© Credits


Country cooperation strategies

The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) is WHO’s strategic framework to guide our work in and with a country. It responds to that country’s national health and development agenda and identifies a set of agreed joint priorities for WHO collaboration, with a focus on areas where the Organization has a comparative advantage in order to assure public health impact. The CCS aims to respond to country needs and priorities based on WHO’s Global Programme of Work (GPW13) and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the public expression of WHO’s results chain at the country level, the CCS sets out clearly defined impact targets for each of the agreed priorities. It also provides input to the process of formulating key elements of WHO’s operational instruments such as the Country Support Plan, which is linked to the Programme Budget.

Each CCS is closely aligned with the GPW13 and United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and serves as the starting point for WHO work in that country. It guides WHO and governments to deliver on health priorities, measure impact and track health-related SDGs.


The timeframe is flexible to align with national planning cycles. It is generally 4–6 years. The key principles guiding WHO’s cooperation in countries and upon which the CCS is based are:

  1. Ownership by the country of the development process;
  2. Alignment with national health priorities and strengthening national health systems in support of the country’s health policies, strategies and plans;
  3. Harmonization with the work of other organizations of the UN system and other partners in the country towards effective development cooperation; and
  4. Collaboration with Member States' in shaping the global health agenda.

The 2020 Country Cooperation Strategy Guide: Implementing the GPW 13 driving impact in every country is a new WHO’s cooperate tool to create synergy and alignment between WHO’s leadership priorities, national health policies, strategies and plans as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. 


Country cooperation strategies and briefs

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Cooperation strategy between Morocco and WHO for the period 2023-2027

La stratégie de coopération Maroc-OMS (SCP) pour la période 2023-2027 a été élaborée à un moment ...

WHO Timor-Leste Country Cooperation Strategy: 2021-2025

In the last decade, Timor-Leste has made remarkable progress in strengthening its health system and improving the health status of its population. This...

WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2020-2024: Bhutan

The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) is WHO’s strategic framework to guide the Organization’s work in and with a country. It responds to...

WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2018 brief: India

All countries with a WHO office have a Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS). CCSs are flexible to align with the national health planning cycle (generally...


Case studies of the COVID-19 response from WHO Country Offices

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Immediately after WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern, WHO offices in countries, territories and areas globally swiftly repurposed their operations to provide relevant guidance and support to governments to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, ensure uninterrupted provision of essential health services, save lives and protect the vulnerable.

These case studies illustrate different aspects of WHO’s response to COVID-19 in countries, territories and areas and focus on successful interventions. They also highlight ongoing challenges and represent the experience of a diverse range of countries, each with different population health needs, health system development, and levels resources.

Reports and documents

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WHO presence in countries, territories and areas: 2023 report: key highlights
This document presents highlights of the WHO presence in countries, territories and areas: 2023 report.
WHO presence in countries, territories and areas: 2023 report

The 2023 Country Presence Report provides an overview of what WHO does in countries to advance towards the SDGs and implement GPW13, how we do it, with...

WHO delivering results and making an impact: stories from the ground

Delivering measurable impact in countries is at the core of WHO’s mission to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable. The Thirteenth...


CCS Strategic Agenda


Formulating the CCS Strategic Agenda is the core of the CCS process. The Strategic Agenda consists of a set of high- level, medium-term strategic priorities for WHO cooperation with the country. It takes into account the country health policy, strategy or plan, the contributions of other UN agencies and development partners, and WHO’s comparative advantage.

Once identified, the CCS priorities and main focus areas are translated into the biennial country programme budget. These areas are where much of the funding in the country office is focused on.

How it works: The Country Cooperation Strategy and Biennial Country Programme Budget

  • Country-specific CCS strategic priorities are agreed between the government and the WHO country office.
  • Main focus areas are those where WHO has a comparative advantage and will deliver results.
A biennial country programme budget is developed to fund the main focus areas.


Department of Country Strategy and Support (CSS)
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

Email:[email protected]