Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) constitution, signed at the 1946 International Health Conference, formally acknowledged the right to health as a human right and established the specialized agency of the United Nations to help secure the “highest possible level of health” for all. The WHO’s mandate is to coordinate international health work among different countries through efforts such as disease eradication, standardization of diagnostics and pharmaceutical products, mental and environmental health, and other activities. The WHO Constitution has been amended four times since its inception – the attached document includes those changes.

Opened for signature22 Jul 1946
Entered into force7 Apr 1948
Latest update1 Jan 2020
Available languages
English Constitution of the World Health Organization
Arabic دستور منظمة الصحة العالمية
Chinese (Simplified) 世界卫生组织组织法
French Constitution de l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé
Russian Устав Всемирной организации здравоохранения
Spanish Constitución de la Organización Mundial de la Salud

States parties

All signatories were attendees at the International Health Conference in 1946, all others accessed or definitively signed at a later date.

Download states parties (CSV, 12 kb)
Entered into force
AfghanistanParty19 Apr 194819 Apr 1948
AlbaniaParty22 Jul 194626 May 19477 Apr 1948
AlgeriaParty8 Nov 19628 Nov 1962
AndorraParty15 Jan 199715 Jan 1997
AngolaParty15 May 197615 May 1976
Antigua and BarbudaParty12 Mar 198412 Mar 1984
ArgentinaParty22 Jul 194622 Oct 194822 Oct 1948
ArmeniaParty4 May 19924 May 1992
AustraliaParty22 Jul 19462 Feb 19487 Apr 1948
AustriaParty22 Jul 194630 Jun 19477 Apr 1948
Showing 1 to 10 of 206 countries

The state has accepted, approved, ratified, or is otherwise party to the agreement, indicating consent to be bound to the agreement.

The state has signed, but not yet ratified or become an official party to the agreement. Where the signature is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, the signature does not establish the consent to be bound. However, it is a means of authentication and expresses the willingness of the signatory state to continue the treaty-making process. The signature qualifies the signatory state to proceed to ratification, acceptance or approval. It also creates an obligation to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and the purpose of the agreement.

The state has not taken any actions with regard to the agreement.

Associate member
The state may have requirements for some of the statutory or non statutory aspects of an agreement, but would not confer all of the obligations of the agreement on the member. Associate members may not have voting rights.

The state is non-party to an agreement, but has the ability to attend meetings or other discussions, and otherwise participate in activities. Observers may be granted permission to speak at formal meetings.