General Meeting

The General Meeting is the representative body of GARD and meets once a year. The General Meeting reviews the reports and activities of the collaborating parties and the secretariat, and, where appropriate, endorses them.

The General Meeting comprises one representative from each collaborating party and WHO, which has a permanent seat. Where a collaborating party desires attendance of an additional representative, such representative is introduced to the meeting and is permitted to participate in the discussion, but is not permitted to vote. Commercial enterprises and private sector entities maintain the status of observers. Advisers may be invited to participate in the discussion, but will not have a role in the decision-making process.

Planning Group

The Planning Group is responsible for co-ordinating the main activities of GARD, and is thus considered as its ‘driving force’. It collects and co-ordinates the reports on the activities of the collaborating parties, and submits new proposals and ideas to the General Meeting for its endorsement. The Planning Group meets at least once a year.

The Planning group comprises 17 members: the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson, WHO (permanent seat), and 14 members elected by the General Meeting. First the positions of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are elected, followed by the election of representatives of organizations with suitable credentials to represent the various constituencies:

  • 8 representing professional organizations in the fields of respiratory medicine (3), allergy (2), primary care (1), pharmacy, physiotherapy, nursing and other associations of professions allied to medicine (1), and other organization devoted to specific diseases (1). One extra seat for a representative of a pediatric organization shall be added if a pediatric organization becomes a GARD active participant;
  • One representing patient organizations (a patient);
  • One representing governmental institutions;
  • One representing WHO Collaborating Centres;
  • One representing collaborating foundations;
  • One representing the Country-Focus Group; and
  • One representing the Working Groups.

One representative of commercial enterprises and private sector entities is elected by this group and serves as an observer on the Planning Group.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is responsible for the management of GARD, and offers overall strategic direction and guidance. It analyzes all proposals presented by the Planning Group before these are presented to the General Meeting for its endorsement/approval. The Executive Committee meets at regular intervals, either in person or via telephone conference.

The Executive Committee comprises the following:

  • The Chairperson;
  • The Vice-Chairperson;
  • WHO (permanent seat); and
  • Two additional members.

The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are elected by the General Meeting, one of the two additional members is elected by the General Meeting and the other additional member is nominated by the joint decision of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and WHO, and endorsed by the General Meeting.

General criteria for the members of the Executive Committee are:

  • Commitment to the activities of GARD;
  • Potential to contribute to the success of the GARD strategic plan;
  • Strategic perspective; and
  • Relevant skills and experience.


The Chronic Respiratory Diseases Group, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organization provides technical leadership and secretariat support to the GARD under the guidance of GARD Responsible Officer, a WHO staff member designated to this function.

Country-Focus Group

The Country-Focus Group is responsible for supporting and assisting GARD activities within individual countries.

The Country-Focus Group comprises GARD Country representatives invited by the Executive Committee. A member of the Country-Focus Group will be elected by the General Meeting to serve on the Planning Group.

Working Groups

The Working Groups are responsible for addressing and advising GARD participants on specific issues relating to the surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases, including assisting in planning and implementing GARD proposed approach at country level, if requested. Each Working Group prepares an annual report on the outcome of its work, which is presented to the General Meeting.

The Working Groups comprise advisers invited by the Executive Committee. The Working Groups are the following:

  • Burden, risk factors and surveillance;
  • Awareness and advocacy;
  • Health promotion and prevention;
  • Diagnosis;
  • Control and drug accessibility; and
  • Paediatrics.