The Chronic Crisis in WHO Financing: A Temperature Check on Member States’ Commitments

Sustainable Financing Working Group Final Meeting Next Week

WHO member states have so far struggled to reach a consensus on increasing their assessed contributions that would make the organization’s financing more predictable and sustainable. That window of making this decision may be closing fast, also given the simultaneous proposals that will transform global health financing in a post-pandemic world.  

The Bureau of the Working Group on Sustainable Financing has recommended that the World Health Assembly in May, must commit to future incremental increases of assessed contributions to an eventual level of 50% of the budget for 2022–2023 base programmes. The first increase will take place in line with the approval of the Programme budget in May 2023 (for the biennium 2024–2025), according to a proposal made by the Bureau, ahead of its final meeting next week on April 25-27th. There appears to be no consensus yet on this proposal, marked in a blue in a document published on the WHO website.

In meantime, G20 has endorsed the approach towards a Financial Intermediary Fund birthed at the World Bank. It was announced earlier this week, that “the G20 has reached a consensus to address the gap by establishing a new financial mechanism dedicated to addressing the financing gap for pandemic preparedness, prevention and action. A Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) housed at the World Bank is the most effective option for a new financial mechanism.”

These decisions are being made in the backdrop of several replenishments for global health agencies, the long shadow of the Ukrainian crisis, slashed budgets for fighting the pandemic, all of which will undoubtedly contribute to a shrinking of the dollars available for WHO.

German diplomat, Björn Kümmel, who has chaired the Sustainable Financing Working Group said this week at an event, that replenishments of nearly US $50 billion are expected this year for global health mechanisms, while WHO member states continue to debate US $1.2 billion over a period of eight years.

Further, any modest increase in membership fees could come with strings attached as determined by influential donor countries, Reuters also reported this week.

This story takes a look at the evolving nature of these multiple discussions that will alter global health financing in the wake of the worst health emergency in a century.

Photo by Pixabay: Pexels

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