Our Work

A global health policy translation hub for UN member states, agencies and programmes

Global Health

UNU-IIGH serves as a global research institute with a primary mission to enhance worldwide health outcomes. Through the generation of policy-relevant analysis and the facilitation of capacity development, the institute strives to bring about positive changes. Collaborating closely with UN agencies, governments, and various stakeholders, UNU-IIGH engages in evidence generation, policy recommendation formulation, and capacity-building initiatives. This collaborative approach enables the institute to effectively address multifaceted global health challenges, making a tangible impact on people's lives worldwide. Guided by a gender-focused perspective, UNU-IIGH operates across four fundamental work packages:

1.            Gender Equality and Intersectionality: aim to improve the quality of health care through a human-centred approach, by ensuring the health system is responsive to the needs of structurally excluded individuals and communities; and by advancing a positive and enabling environment for the frontline health workforce—e.g. addressing the experience of gender-based violence.

2.            Power and Accountability: catalyse equitable shifts in power and address key accountability deficits that prevent the equitable and effective functioning of the global health system and prevent adequate responsiveness to the needs of states and populations in the Global South. 

3.            Digital Health Governance:  address the colonial legacies and power asymmetries that negatively impact robust digital health governance, identify ways to strengthen health data governance with a particular focus on SRHR and promote diversity in technology design and development. 

4.            Climate Justice and Determinants of Health: leverage UNU-IIGH's position within the UN and network of UNU institutes, network experts, practitioners, policy-makers, and academics to advance evidence-based policy on the different dimensions of the climate emergency and its impact on health.


At the core of this strategic plan lie multiple lenses that would inform all work. The lenses are the conceptual and analytic foundations of the Institute’s work that are, in turn, rooted in principles and values informed by the UN Values Framework. The Institute has taken power as the analytical entry point to apply a set of five interconnected lenses that will facilitate collaboration across the four work packages to interrogate the structural underpinnings of health inequalities in global health—Intersectionality, Feminism, Decoloniality, Contextualisation, and Powerful Actors. 

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UNU-IIGH's strategic approach also encompasses key tactics. The tactics outline how the Institute will achieve specific programmatic outcomes that together will contribute to the overarching aim of addressing health inequalities. Each work package will draw on a combination of the following five tactics: 

1.            Conducting Research and Analysis: Collaborating with a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, including researchers, government bodies, civil society, marginalised communities, and academia, to undertake research and generate analyses that contribute to evidence-informed policy dialogue, development, and review.

2.            Fostering Partnerships and Networks: Strengthening existing partnerships and forging new networks across the global health ecosystem and beyond. The Institute aims to bring low- and middle-income country leadership and voices to the fore.

3.            Communicating Findings and Results: UNU-IIGH will ensure co-created research influences evidence-informed policy and decision-making. The Institute will share impactful stories and lessons from research, aligning messaging with communication objectives and stakeholder needs.

4.            Advocating for Change: Leveraging its independent position to advocate for novel approaches in global health, supporting marginalised voices, and championing power sharing and redistribution.

5.            Strengthening Capacity: Producing high-quality knowledge products and training programs to bolster evidence-informed decision-making. The Institute will expand its network and reach, acting as a South-South learning hub for global health.

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The UNU-IIGH 2024-2028 strategic Plan

The UNU-IIGH Mission: Build knowledge and capacity for decision-making by UN agencies, UN programmes, and Member States about global health issues. Vision: Addressing inequalities in global health
Download the Strategic Plan