Home Environmental Health & Climate Change Call for experts – Technical Advisory Group on embedding ethics in health and climate change policy

Call for experts – Technical Advisory Group on embedding ethics in health and climate change policy

by Public Health Update

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Technical advisory group on embedding ethics in health and climate change policy. This “Call for experts” provides information about the advisory group in question, the expert profiles being sought, the process to express interest, and the process of selection.


The WHO recognises climate change as the biggest health threat facing humanity; it has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health. The World Health Organization’s primary role is to direct and coordinate international health through six core functions, one of which is “articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options.” In furtherance of this mandate, WHO’s Health Ethics and Governance (HEG) Unit (the Secretariat) has established a new and dedicated work stream on climate change, health, and ethics. Through this work, WHO is committed to working with Member States, UN and other international agencies and the wider global health and research community to deliver a range of supporting tools and materials to help navigate ethical issues across the health (and health research) and climate change field and embed them effectively in relevant policies.

Functions of the Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy

In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the AG shall have the following functions:

  1. To provide advice on the identification of stakeholders in the field of health and climate change, including appropriate engagement strategies, to ensure an inclusive engagement process; to help in considerations of the rights and responsibilities of different stakeholders in ethical decision-making;
  2. To advise the Secretariat on the development of evidence gathering methodologies, with particular reference to a series of case studies designed to identify the practical ethical challenges arising for health and research stakeholders responding to climate change;
  3. To contribute with expert inputs into drafts of supporting tools/frameworks and/or guidance developed to support the successful inclusion of ethical considerations in policy and decision making in climate change and health;
  4. To review and make recommendations to the Secretariat on the final tools/frameworks and/or guidance, including on any proposed dissemination strategies.

Operations of the Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy

1. The AG shall normally meet at least 6 times each year. However, WHO may convene additional meetings. AG meetings may be held in person (at WHO headquarters in Geneva or another location, as determined by WHO) or virtually, via video or teleconference. AG meetings may be held in open and/or closed session, as decided by the Chairperson in consultation with WHO:

(a) Open sessions: Open sessions shall be convened for the sole purpose of the exchange of non-confidential information and views, and may be attended by Observers (as defined in paragraph III.3 below).

(b) Closed sessions: The sessions dealing with the formulation of recommendations and/or advice to WHO shall be restricted to the members of the AG and essential WHO Secretariat staff.

2. The quorum for AG meetings shall be two thirds of the members.

3. WHO may, at its sole discretion, invite external individuals from time to time to attend the open sessions of an advisory group, or parts thereof, as “observers”. Observers may be invited either in their personal capacity, or as representatives from a governmental institution / intergovernmental organization, or from a non-state actor. WHO will request observers invited in their personal capacity to complete a confidentiality undertaking and a declaration of interests form prior to attending a session of the advisory group. Invitations to observers attending as representatives from non-state actors will be subject to internal due diligence and conflict of interest considerations in accordance with FENSA. Observers invited as representatives may also be requested to complete a confidentiality undertaking. Observers shall normally attend meetings of the AG at their own expense and be responsible for making all arrangements in that regard.
At the invitation of the Chairperson, observers may be asked to present their personal views and/or the policies of their organization. Observers will not participate in the process of adopting decisions and recommendations of the AG.

4. The AG may decide to establish smaller working groups (sub-groups of the AG) to work on specific issues. Their deliberations shall take place via teleconference or video-conference. For these sub-groups, no quorum requirement will apply; the outcome of their deliberations will be submitted to the AG for review at one of its meetings.

5. AG members are expected to attend meetings. If a member misses two consecutive meetings, WHO may end his/her appointment as a member of the AG.

6. A yearly report shall be submitted by the AG to WHO (the Assistant Director-General of the responsible Cluster). All recommendations from the AG are advisory to WHO, who retains full control over any subsequent decisions or actions regarding any proposals, policy issues or other matters considered by the AG.

7. The AG shall normally make recommendations by consensus. If, in exceptional circumstances, a consensus on a particular issue cannot be reached, minority opinions will be reflected in the meeting report.

8. Active participation is expected from all AG members, including in working groups, teleconferences, and interaction over email.] AG members may, in advance of AG meetings, be requested to review meeting documentation and to provide their views for consideration by the AG.

9. WHO shall determine the modes of communication by the AG, including between WHO and the AG members, and the AG members among themselves.

10. AG members shall not speak on behalf of, or represent, the AG or WHO to any third party.

Who can express interest?

The Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to embedding ethics in health and climate change policy. Approximately 12-15 members may be selected.

WHO welcomes expressions of interest from the following relevant disciplines (please note that this not an exhaustive list and other related fields may be considered):

  • Climate change policy/finance/diplomacy/advocacy;
  • Health policy/systems;
  • Environmental/climate science;
  • Medicine/health professions/public health/global health;
  • Social science/behavioural science;
  • One health/animal health/planetary health;
  • Bioethics/environmental ethics;
  • Law/human rights;
  • Economics
  • First Nations/indigenous scholars

In the selection of the AG members, consideration shall be given to attaining an adequate distribution of technical expertise, geographical representation and gender balance.

Submitting your expression of interest

To register your interest in being considered for the Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy, please submit the following documents by 24:00h (midnight) Geneva time on Friday 8 September 2023 to [email protected] using the subject line “Expression of interest for the Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy”:

  • A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be in a personal capacity. Therefore do not use the letterhead or other identification of your employer;
  • Your curriculum vitae (including your nationality/ies) and;
  • A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available here 

After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be informed.

Important information about the selection processes and conditions of appointment

Members of WHO advisory groups (AGs) must be free of any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest. To this end, applicants are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and the selection as a member of a AG is, amongst other things, dependent on WHO determining that there is no conflict of interest or that any identified conflicts could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s evaluation of an applicant’s experience, expertise and motivation and other criteria).

All AG members will serve in their individual expert capacity and shall not represent any governments, any commercial industries or entities, any research, academic or civil society organizations, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organizations. They are expected to fully comply with the Code of Conduct for WHO Experts. AG members will be expected to sign and return a completed confidentiality undertaking prior to the beginning of the first meeting.

At any point during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between an applicant and the WHO Secretariat to enable WHO to ask questions relating to the applicant’s experience and expertise and/or  to assess whether the applicant meets the criteria for membership in the relevant AG.

The selection of members of the AGs will be made by WHO in its sole discretion, taking into account  the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and country policy work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations .The selection of AG members will also take account of the need for diverse perspectives from different regions, especially from low and middle-income countries, and for gender balance.

If selected by WHO, proposed members will be sent an invitation letter and a Memorandum of Agreement. Appointment as a member of a AG will be subject to the proposed member returning to WHO the countersigned copy of these two documents.

WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expression of interest, to annul the open call process and reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the affected applicant or applicants and without any obligation to inform the affected applicant or applicants of the grounds for WHO’s action. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the establishment of the AG, disband an existing TAG or modify the work of the AG.

WHO shall not in any way be obliged to reveal, or discuss with any applicant, how an expression of interest was assessed, or to provide any other information relating to the evaluation/selection process or to state the reasons for not choosing a member.

WHO may publish the names and a short biography of the selected individuals on the WHO internet.

AG members will not be remunerated for their services in relation to the AG or otherwise. Travel and accommodation expenses of AG members to participate in AG meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.

The appointment will be limited in time as indicated in the letter of appointment.

If you have any questions about this “Call for experts”, please write to littlerk[@]who.int well before the applicable deadline. 

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