Full text—  pdf Constitution of the Pan American Health Organization (28.35 kB)  icon

The Constitution of the Pan American Health Organization was adopted by the Directing Council at its I Meeting, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 24 September to 2 October 1947. Amendments approved by the Directing Council at its XIII Meeting, Resolution XXXVII (1961); at its XVI Meeting, Resolution XXIV (1965); at its XVIII Meeting, Resolution II (1968); at the XX Pan American Sanitary Conference, Resolution I (1978); and at the XLI Meeting of the Directing Council, Resolution VIII (1999).


Progress in the sciences of public health and medicine together with new and wider concepts of the responsibilities of Governments in matters of health makes it essential to broaden the scope of international health work in the Western Hemisphere and to develop and strengthen the Pan American Sanitary Bureau in order that it may be able to carry out fully the obligations imposed by this progress.

Acting in accordance with the Final Act of the XII Pan American Sanitary Conference, the Directing Council hereby adopts the following Constitution for the Pan American Health Organization.



Article 1. Purposes:

The fundamental purposes of the Pan American Health Organization (hereinafter called the Organization) shall be to promote and coordinate efforts of the countries of the Western Hemisphere to combat disease, lengthen life, and promote the physical and mental health of the people.

Article 2. Membership:

A. All American States are entitled to membership in the Organization. (American States which are Members of the Organization are hereinafter called Member Governments.)

B. Territories or groups of territories within the Western Hemisphere which are not responsible for the conduct of their international relations shall have the right to be represented and to participate in the Organization. The nature and extent of the rights and obligations of these territories or groups of territories in the Organization shall be determined in each case by the Directing Council afterconsultation with the Government or other authorities having responsibility for their international relations (hereinafter called Participating Governments).

It is understood that Member Governments having under their jurisdiction subordinate territories and peoples within the Western Hemisphere will apply the provisions of the Pan American Sanitary Code and of this Constitution to such territories and peoples.

Article 3. Organs:

The Organization shall comprise:

  1. The Pan American Sanitary Conference (hereinafter called the Conference);
  2. The Directing Council (hereinafter called the Council);
  3. The Executive Committee of the Directing Council (hereinafter called the Executive Committee); and
  4. The Pan American Sanitary Bureau (hereinafter called the Bureau).



Article 4. Functions:

A. The Conference shall be the supreme governing authority of the Organization.

B. The Conference shall determine the general policies of the Organization....

Full text—  pdf Constitution of the Pan American Health Organization (28.35 kB)  icon