The Parties to this Statute,
believing that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human,
realizing the unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health and control of diseases,
having in mind that health is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security,
believing that an international organization contributes to the development of healthcare and national health systems,
realizing that health is essential to human welfare and to sustained economic and social development,
desiring to foster the positive impact that an international organization can have on coordinating humanitarian aid,
affirming their desire to establish an international organization for healthcare and health action in crisis, that facilitates the cooperation between its Members, while also establishing a close collaboration with existing organizations that promote the development of medical care,
have agreed as follows:
Establishment of the Organization
A. The Parties to this Statute hereby establish the UNHCO (hereinafter referred to as “the Organization”) in accordance with the following terms and conditions.
B. The Organization is based on the principle of the equality of all its Members and shall pay due respect to the sovereign rights and competencies of its Members in performing its activities and functions.
The Organization shall be committed to the global development of healthcare as well as preventive healthcare. Furthermore, the Organization is committed to the objective of combating problems arising from lack of or poor medical care and the Organization is mandated to lead and coordinate international health action in crises, taking into account:
(a) national and domestic priorities and benefits derived from a combination of health work and efficient coordination of health action in crisis, and
(b) the contribution of science and research to the development of preventive healthcare.
A. In order to achieve its objective, the functions of the Organization shall be:
1. In particular for the benefit of its Members the Organization shall:
(a) act as coordinating Organization on health work;
(b) assist Governments in strengthening national health services;
(c) help Governments, upon request, prepare for, respond to, and recover from health emergencies, disasters and health-crises
(d) stimulate and advance work to tropical, infectious and other diseases in developing nations;
(e) initiate discussion and ensure interaction with other governmental and non-governmental organizations and networks in this and other relevant fields;
(f) provide relevant policy advice and assistance to its Members upon their request, taking into account their respective needs, and stimulate international discussions on lack of medical care;
(g) improve pertinent knowledge and technology transfer and promote the development of local capacity and competence in Member States including necessary interconnections;
(h) offer capacity building including training and education to its Members;
(i) provide to its Members upon their request advice on healthcare;
(j) stimulate and encourage research, including on vaccines issues;
(k) to promote improved standards of teaching and training in the health,
medical and related professions.
2. Furthermore, the Organization shall disseminate information and increase public awareness on international health issues.
B. In the performance of its activities and functions, the Organization shall:
1. act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations to promote peace and international cooperation, and in conformity with policies of the United Nations furthering sustainable development;
2. allocate its resources in such a way as to ensure their efficient utilization with a view to appropriately address all its objectives and perform its activities for achieving the greatest possible benefit for its Members and in all areas of the world, bearing in mind the special needs of the developing countries, and remote and isolated regions and islands;
3. cooperate closely and strive for establishing mutually beneficial relationships with existing institutions and organizations in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of work and build upon and make efficient and effective use of resources and on-going activities by governments, other organizations and agencies, which aim to promote global health.
C. The Organization shall:
- submit an annual report on its activities to its Members;
- inform Members about its policy advice after it was given; and
- inform Members about consultation and cooperation with and the work of existing international organizations working in this field.
Work programme and projects
A. The Organization shall perform its activities on the basis of the annual work programme, prepared by the Secretariat, considered by the Council and adopted by the Assembly.
B. The Organization may, in addition to its work programme, after consultation of its Members and, in case of disagreement, after approval by the Assembly, carry out projects initiated and financed by Members subject to the availability of non-financial resources of the Organization.
A. Membership is open to all States and to intergovernmental organizations willing and able to act in accordance with the objectives and activities laid down in this Statute. To be eligible for membership to the Organization, an intergovernmental organization must be constituted by sovereign States, at least one of which is a Member of the Organization, and to which its Member States have transferred competence in at least one of the matters within the purview of the Organization.
B. Such States and intergovernmental organizations shall become:
1. original Members of the Organization by having signed this Statute;
2. other Members of the Organization by depositing an instrument of accession and by having signed this Statute.
C. In the case of any intergovernmental organization, the organization and its Member States shall decide on their respective responsibilities for the performance of their obligations under this Statute. The organization and its member states shall not be entitled to exercise rights, including voting rights, under the Statute concurrently. In their instruments of ratification or accession, the organizations referred to above shall declare the extent of their competence with respect to the matters governed by this Statute.
A. Observer status may be granted by the Assembly to:
- Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations active in the field of healthcare;
- Signatories that have not ratified the Statute; and
- Applicants for membership whose application for membership has been approved in accordance with Article V paragraph B number 2.
B. Observers may participate without the right to vote in the public sessions of the Assembly and its subsidiary organs.
A. There are hereby established as the principal organs of the Organization:
- the Assembly;
- the Council; and
- the Secretariat.
B. The Assembly, subject to approval by the Secretary-General, may establish such subsidiary organs as they find necessary for the exercise of their functions in accordance with this Statute.
1. The Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization.
2. The Assembly may discuss any matter within the scope of this Statute or relating to the powers and functions of any organ provided for in this Statute.
3. On any such matter the Assembly may:
(a) take decisions and make recommendations to any such organ; and
(b) make recommendations to the Members of the Organization, upon their request.
4. Furthermore, the Assembly shall have the authority to request from the Council and the Secretariat reports on any matter relating to the functioning of the Organization.
B. The Assembly may be composed of all Members of the Organization. The Assembly shall meet in regular sessions, which shall be held periodically by invitation of the Secretary-General unless he decides otherwise.
C. The Assembly includes one representative of each Member. Alternates and advisors may accompany representatives. The costs of a delegation’s participation shall be borne by the respective Member.
D. Sessions of the Assembly shall take place in a Member State, unless the Assembly decides otherwise.
E. At the beginning of each regular session, the Assembly shall elect a President and such other Officials as may be required, taking into account equitable geographic representation. They shall hold office until a new President and other officials are elected during the next regular session. The Assembly shall adopt it rules of procedure in conformity with its Statute.
F. Subject to Article V paragraph C, each Member of the Organization shall have one vote in the Assembly. The Assembly shall take decisions on questions of procedure by a two-third majority of all Members. Decisions on matters of substance shall be taken by consensus of the Members present. If no consensus can be reached, consensus shall be considered achieved if no more than 2 Members object, unless the Statute provides otherwise. When the issue arises as to whether the question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as a matter of substance unless the Assembly by consensus of the Members present decides otherwise, which, if no consensus can be reached, shall be considered achieved if no more than 2 Members object. All members of the Organization shall constitute a quorum for the Assembly.
G. The Assembly shall, by consensus of the Members:
1. elect the members of the Council;
2. adopt at its regular sessions the budget and the work programme of the Organization, submitted by the Secretariat, and have the authority to decide on amendments of the budget and the work programme of the Organization, subject to prior approval by the Secretary-General;
3. take decisions relating to the supervision of the financial policies of the Organization, the financial rules and other financial matters;
4. discuss amendments to this Statute;
5. decide on the establishment of subsidiary bodies and approve their terms of reference;
6. decide on permission to vote in accordance with Article XVII paragraph A;
7. take any appropriate action to further the objective of the Organization; and
8. determine the policies of the Organization.
H. The Assembly shall by consensus of the Members present, which if no consensus can be reached shall be considered achieved if no more than 2 Members object:
1. discuss, if necessary, on applications for membership;
2. approve the rules of procedure of the Assembly and of the Council, which shall be submitted by the latter;
3. adopt the annual report as well as other reports;
4. approve the conclusion of agreements on any questions, matters or issues within the scope of this Statute; and
5. decide in case of disagreement between its Members on additional projects in accordance with Article IV paragraph B.
I. The Assembly shall designate the seat of the Organization and the Secretary-General, who shall be its head by consensus of all Members, or, if no consensus can be reached, by a majority vote of two thirds of all Members.
J. The Assembly shall consider and approve as appropriate at its first session any decisions, draft agreements, provisions and guidelines developed by the Preparatory Commission in accordance with the voting procedures for the respective issue as outlined in Article VIII.
A. The Assembly shall comprise a Secretary-General, who shall be its head as well as the head of the Secretariat and chief administrative officer, and such staff as may be required. The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the Assembly for a term of eight years, renewable for two further terms, but not thereafter.
B. The Secretary-General shall be responsible for the appointment of the staff as well as the Organization and functioning of the Secretariat. The paramount consideration in the employment of the staff and in the determination of the conditions of service shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Due regard shall be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff primarily from Member States and on as wide a geographical basis as possible, taking particularly into account the adequate representation of developing countries and with emphasis on gender balance. In preparing the budget the proposed recruitment shall be guided by the principle that the staff shall be kept to a minimum necessary for the proper discharge of the responsibilities of the Secretariat.
C. The Secretary-General or a representative designated by him or her shall participate in all meetings, without the right to vote, of the Assembly and of the Council.
D. The Secretary-General shall prepare and submit to the Board the financial statements and budget estimates of the Organization.
E. The Secretary-General shall designate a representative (Vice Secretary-General). The Secretary-General shall appoint this designated representative as successor if the Secretary-General decides to step down. The successor shall hold office until a new Secretary-General is elected during the next regular session.
- The Council shall consist of at least 11 but not more than 21 representatives of the Members of the Organization, elected by the Assembly. The concrete number of representatives between 11 and 21 shall correspond to the rounded up equivalent of one third of the Members of the Organization to be calculated on the basis of the number of Members of the Organization at the beginning of the respective election for members of the Council.
The members of the Council shall be elected on a rotating basis as laid down in the rules of procedure of the Assembly, with a view to ensuring effective participation of developing and developed countries and achieving fair and equitable geographical distribution and effectiveness of the Council’s work. The members of the Council shall be elected for a term of five years.
B. The Council shall convene periodically and its meetings shall take place in a Member State.
C. The Council shall, at the beginning of each meeting for the duration until its next meeting, elect a Chairperson and such other officials from among its members as may be required. It shall have the right to elaborate its rules of procedure. Such rules of procedure have to be submitted to the Assembly for approval.
D. Each member of the Council shall have one vote. The Council shall take decisions on questions of procedure by a simple majority of its members. Decisions on matters of substance shall be taken by a majority of two thirds of its members. When the issue arises as to whether the question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as a matter of substance unless the Council, by a majority of two thirds of its members, decides otherwise.
E. The Council shall be responsible and accountable to the Assembly. The Council shall carry out the powers and functions entrusted to it under this Statute, as well as those functions delegated to it by the Assembly and the Secretary-General. In so doing, it shall act in conformity with the decisions and with due regard to the recommendations of the Assembly and assure their proper and continuous implementation.
F. The Council shall:
1. facilitate consultations and cooperation among Members;
2. consider and submit to the Assembly the draft work programme and the draft budget of the Organization;
3. approve arrangements for the sessions of the Assembly including the preparation of the draft agenda;
4. consider and submit to the Assembly reports concerning the activities of the Organization and other reports as prepared by the Secretariat;
5. prepare any other reports which the Assembly may request;
6. conclude agreements or arrangements with States, international organizations and international agencies on behalf of the Organization, subject to prior approval by the Assembly or the Secretary-General;
7. substantiate the work programme as adopted by the Assembly with a view to its implementation by the Secretariat and within the limits of the adopted budget;
8. have the authority to refer to the Assembly matters for its consideration; and
9. establish subsidiary organs, when necessary, in accordance with Article VII paragraph B and subject to prior approval by the Assembly and the Secretary-General, and decide on their terms of reference and duration.
A. The Secretariat shall assist the Assembly, the Council, and their subsidiary organs in the performance of their functions. It shall carry out the other functions entrusted to it under this Statute as well as those functions delegated to it by the Assembly or the Council.
B. The Secretariat shall:
1. prepare and submit to the Council the draft work programme and the draft budget to the Organization, subject to approval by the Secretary-General;
2. implement the Organization’s work programme and its decisions;
3. prepare and submit to the Council the draft annual report concerning the activities of the Organization and such other reports as the Council may request;
4. provide administrative and technical support to the Assembly, the Council and their subsidiary organs;
5. facilitate communication between the Organization and its Members; and
6. circulate the policy advice after it was given to the Members of the Organization in accordance with Article III paragraph C number 2 and prepare and submit to the Assembly and the Council a report on its policy advice for each of their sessions. The report to the Council shall include also the planned policy advice in implementing the annual work programme.
C. In the performance of their duties, the members of the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other source external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action that might reflect on their positions as international officers. Each Member shall respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the other members of the staff and shall not seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
A. The budget of the Organization shall be financed by:
1. adequate contributions of its Members,
2. voluntary contributions; and
3. other possible sources
in accordance with the financial rules to be adopted by the Assembly by consensus, as laid down in Article VIII paragraph G of this Statute. The financial rules and the budget shall secure a solid financial basis of the Organization and shall ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the Organization’s activities, as defined by the work programme. Mandatory contributions will finance core activities and administrative costs.
B. The draft budget of the Organization shall be prepared by the Secretariat as well as the Secretary-General and submitted to the Council for examination. The Council shall either forward it to the Assembly with a recommendation for approval or return it to the Secretariat for review and re-submission.
C. The Secretary-General shall appoint an external auditor who shall hold office for a period of four years. The first auditor shall hold office for a period of two years. The auditor shall examine the accounts of the Organization and shall make such observations and recommendations as deemed necessary with respect to the efficiency of the management and the internal financial controls.
Legal Personality, privileges and immunities
1. The Organization shall enjoy in the territory of each Member such legal capacity as may be necessary for the fulfillment of its objective and for the exercise of its functions.
2. The Organization shall possess juridical personality and shall have the capacity:
(a) to contract;
(b) to acquire and dispose of immovable and movable property;
(c) to institute legal proceedings.
B. The Organization, the property and assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except in so far as in any particular case the Organization has expressly waived its immunity. It is, however, understood that no waiver of immunity shall extend to any measure of execution.
1. The premises of the Organization shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the Organization, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action. The archives of the Organization, and in general all documents belonging to the Organization or held by the Organization, shall be inviolable, wherever located.
2. The Organization, its assets, income and other property shall be:
(a) Exempt from all direct taxes; it is understood, however, that the Organization will not claim exemption from taxes which are, in fact, no more than charges for public utility services;
(b) Exempt from customs duties and prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports in respect of articles imported or exported by the Organization for their official use; it is understood, however, that articles imported under such exemption will not be sold in the country into which they were imported except under conditions agreed to with the Government of that country;
(c) Exempt from duties and prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports in respect of its publications.
1. Representatives of Members at meetings convened by the Organization shall, while exercising their functions and during their journeys to and from the place of meeting, enjoy the following privileges and immunities:
(a) Immunity from personal arrest or detention and from seizure of their personal baggage, and in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in their official capacity, immunity from legal process of every kind;
(b) Inviolability for all papers and documents;
(c) The right to use codes and to receive papers or correspondence by courier or in sealed bags;
(d) Exemption in respect of themselves and their spouses from immigration restrictions, aliens’ registration or national service obligations in the State which they are visiting or through which they are passing in the exercise of their functions;
(e) The same facilities in respect of currency or exchange restrictions as are accorded to representatives of foreign Governments on temporary official missions;
(f) The same immunities and facilities in respect of their personal baggage as are accorded to members of comparable rank of diplomatic missions.
2. Privileges and immunities are accorded to the representatives of Members, not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves, but in order to safeguard the independent exercise of their functions in connexion with the Organization. Consequently, a Member not only has the right but is under a duty to waive the immunity of its representatives in any case where, in the opinion of the Member, the immunity would impede the course of justice, and where it can be waived without prejudice to the purpose for which the immunity is accorded.
1. Officials of the Organization shall:
(a) Be immune from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed by them in their official capacity;
(b) Enjoy the same exemptions from taxation in respect of the salaries and emoluments paid to them by the Organization and on the same conditions as are enjoyed by officials of the United Nations;
(c) Be immune, together with their spouses and relatives dependent on them, from immigration restrictions and alien registration;
(d) Be accorded the same privileges in respect of exchange facilities as are accorded to officials of comparable rank of diplomatic missions;
(e) Be given, together with their spouses and relatives dependent on them, the same repatriation facilities in time of international crises as officials of comparable rank of diplomatic missions;
(f) Have the right to import free of duty their furniture and effects at the time of first taking up their post in the country in question;
(g) Enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the Member States and shall be inviolable and therefore not be liable to any form of arrest or detention;
(h) be exempt from all customs duties, taxes, and related charges;
(i) The private residence shall enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the organization or the regional mission.
2. Officials of the Organization shall be entitled to use the UNHCO Official Passport and the Signatories of the present Statute grant the holder of such a passport privileges and immunities according to article XIII A-F, according to a comparable rank of a head of mission and according to international law.
3. The Signatories to this Statute shall recognize and accept the UNHCO Official Passport issued to Officials of the Organization as valid travel documents.
4. Applications for visas, where required, from Officials of the Organization holding an Official Passport issued by the Organization shall be dealt with as speedily as possible. In addition, such persons shall be granted facilities for speedy travel.
F. Each State party to this Statute shall accord to the Organization and its Officials privileges and immunities according to the present Statute, according to the standard clauses of the Convention on privileges and immunities of specialized agencies of the United Nations and additionally according to international law.
Relations with other organizations
Subject to the approval of the Assembly the Council shall be authorized to conclude agreements on behalf of the Organization establishing appropriate relations with the spezialized agencies of the United Nations and any other organizations whose work is related to that of the Organization. The provisions of this Statute shall not affect the rights and obligations of any Member deriving from any existing international treaty.
Amendments and withdrawal, review
- Amendments to this Statute may be proposed by any Member. Certified copies of the text of any amendment proposed shall be prepared by the Secretary-General and communicated by him to all Members at least ninety days in advance of its consideration by the Assembly.
B. Amendments shall come into force for all Members:
1. when approved by the Assembly and the Secretary-General after consideration of observations submitted by the Council on each proposed amendment; and
2. after all the Members have consented to be bound by the amendment in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. Members shall express their consent to be bound by depositing a corresponding instrument.
C. At any time after eight years from the date of signature of a Member, a Member may withdraw from the Organization by notice in writing to that effect given to the Secretary-General, who shall promptly inform the Council and all Members.
D. Such withdrawal shall take effect at the end of the year in which it is expressed. Withdrawal by a Member from the Organization shall not affect its contractual obligations entered into pursuant to Article IV paragraph B.
Settlement of Disputes
A. Members shall settle any dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of this Statute by peaceful means in accordance with Article 2 paragraph 3 of the Charter of the United Nations and, to this end, shall seek a solution by the means indicated in Article 33 paragraph 1 of the Charter of the United Nations.
B. The Council may contribute to the settlement of a dispute by whatever means it deems appropriate, including offering its good offices, calling upon the Members to a dispute to start the settlement process of their choice and recommending a time limit for any agreed procedure.
Temporary suspension of rights
A. Any Member of the Organization which is in arrears with its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no right to vote.
B. A Member which has persistently violated the provisions of this Statute or of any agreement entered into by it pursuant to this Statute may be suspended from the exercise of the privileges and rights of membership by the Assembly acting by a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting upon recommendation of the Council.
Seat of the Organization
The seat of the Organization shall be determined by the Assembly at its first session.
Signature, ratification, entry into force and accession
A. This Statute shall be open for signature at the Founding Conference by all States and all intergovernmental organizations as defined in Article V paragraph A. It shall remain open for signature.
B. For States and intergovernmental organizations as defined in Article V having not signed this Statute, this Statute shall be open for accession.
C. Consent to be bound by this Statute shall be expressed by signing this Statute and depositing the Statute with the Secretary-General. States shall effect ratification of or accession to this Statute in accordance with their respective constitutional processes and may deposit an instrument of ratification or accession with the Secretary-General.
D. For States or intergovernmental organizations having deposited an instrument of ratification or accession after the entry into force of the Statute, this Statute shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of deposit of the relevant instrument with the Secretary-General.
E. No reservations may be made to any of the provisions contained in this Statute.
F. The present Statute shall come into force upon the signature of two sovereign states.
Signatories and Registration
A. In accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Secretary-General will register this Statute when it has been signed without reservation.
B. The Organization shall promptly inform all Signatories to this Statute of the date of each deposit of any instrument of ratification.
C. The Secretary-General shall inform all states, which did not attend the founding-conference in New York about the establishment of the Organization and the duly authorized Secretary-General shall inform all recognized states about the application for membership.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized, have signed this Statute.
DONE at New York, this 16th of September 2008, in a single original, in the English language.