Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Exclusive-U.S. opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization

WorldJan 22, 2022 12:55PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization logo is pictured at the entrance of the WHO building, in Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Francesco Guarascio, Trevor Hunnicutt and Stephanie Nebehay

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The United States, the World Health Organization's top donor, is resisting proposals to make the agency more independent, four officials involved in the talks said, raising doubts about the Biden administration's long-term support for the U.N. agency.

The proposal, made by the WHO's working group on sustainable financing, would increase each member state's standing annual contribution, according to a WHO document published online and dated Jan. 4.

The plan is part of a wider reform process galvanised by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the limitations of the WHO's power to intervene early in a crisis.

But the U.S. government is opposing the reform because it has concerns about the WHO's ability to confront future threats, including from China, U.S. officials told Reuters.

It is pushing instead for the creation of a separate fund, directly controlled by donors, that would finance prevention and control of health emergencies.

Four European officials involved in the talks, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the U.S. opposition. The U.S. government had no immediate comment.

The published proposal calls for member states' mandatory contributions to rise gradually from 2024 so they would account for half the agency's $2 billion core budget by 2028, compared to less than 20% now, the document said.

The WHO's core budget is aimed at fighting pandemics and strengthening healthcare systems across the world. It also raises an additional $1 billion or so a year to tackle specific global challenges such as tropical diseases and influenza.

Supporters say that the current reliance on voluntary funding from member states and from charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation forces the WHO to focus on priorities set by the funders, and makes it less able to criticise members when things go wrong.

An independent panel on pandemics that was appointed to advise on the WHO reform had called for a much bigger increase in mandatory fees, to 75% of the core budget, deeming the current system "a major risk to the integrity and independence" of the WHO.

LONG-STANDING SCEPTICISM

The WHO itself responded to a query by saying that "only flexible and predictable funds can enable WHO to fully implement the priorities of the Member States".

Top European Union donors, including Germany, back the plan, along with most African, South Asian, South American and Arab countries, three of the European officials said.

The proposal is to be discussed at the WHO's executive board meeting next week but the divisions mean no agreement is expected, three of the officials said.

The WHO confirmed there was currently no consensus among member states, and said talks were likely to continue until the annual meeting in May of the World Health Assembly, the agency's top decision-making body.

European donors in particular favour empowering, rather than weakening, multilateral organisations including the WHO.

One European official said the U.S. plan "causes scepticism among many countries", and said the creation of a new structure controlled by donors, rather than by the WHO, would weaken the agency's ability to combat future pandemics.

Washington has been critical of the WHO for some time.

Former president Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the WHO after accusing it of defending China's initial delays in sharing information when COVID-19 emerged there in 2019.

The Biden administration rejoined soon after taking office, but officials told Reuters they think the WHO needs significant reform, and raised concerns about its governance, structure and ability to confront rising threats, not least from China.

One of the European officials said other big countries, including Japan and Brazil, were also hesitant about the published WHO proposal.

A Brazilian official with knowledge of the discussions said Brazil agreed that WHO funding needed to be looked at, but said it opposed the proposal to raise contributions as it had run up deficits tackling the virus and was now facing a fiscal crunch.

Instead, the official said the WHO needed to investigate other ways to raise funds, such as charging for its services, cutting costs or relocating operations to cheaper countries.

"Raising contributions should be the last resort," said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.

Two of the European officials said China had not yet made its position clear, while a third official listed Beijing among the critics of the proposal.

The governments of Japan and China had no immediate comment.

Exclusive-U.S. opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (7)
adriaan kuhn
adriaan kuhn Jan 22, 2022 6:32PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
WHO should be under the flag of NATO and get subsidized from there. problem solved NEXT!
John Laurens
John Laurens Jan 22, 2022 4:00PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
WHO are shills for china, and have no problem with china dropping the Rona on the world to gain economic advantage. They are despicable, just like those they work for.
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Jan 22, 2022 3:54PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
"it has concerns about the WHO's ability to confront future threats". Says the country with one of the highest deaths/cases per 1M population. Don't make me laugh...
Jack AAA
Jack_A Jan 22, 2022 2:25PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
US don't want any agency unless it is under its control!
Honey Badger
Honey Badger Jan 22, 2022 1:43PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
They want every organisation as a their tool if they didn't
Robert Copeland
Robert Copeland Jan 22, 2022 1:34PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The US is Stupid in that respect, in fact they are not thinking clearly in a lot of respects when it comes to Global matters.
John Laurens
John Laurens Jan 21, 2022 4:56PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
why? they're completely incompetent and are shills for china. that's the goofiest thing i've heard in a looong time!
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email