After the U.S. President announced the intention of the United States. to cut the funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) back in June 2020 and ultimately leave, both Germany and France have pledged increased financial support to the WHO. The countries also stated they want to see improvements in WHO.
10 key reforms proposed
Now the two countries have circulated a draft paper with 10 key reforms to boost the WHO’s legal authority and funding, while also increasing oversight of the agency’s emergency operations.
One of the reforms in the draft is the creation of an independent expert committee to assess WHO’s operations in emergency situations as they unfold.
Previously, WHO used to conduct independent reviews once a pandemic has been successfully controlled. In July, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros announced the initiation of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) to evaluate the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In remarks to WHO Member States, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Panel will be co-chaired by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Prime Minister Clark went on lead the United Nations Development Programme and President Sirleaf is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The IPPR is the first of its kind review effort.
The draft also recommended giving the WHO more power to autonomously and independently investigate reports of new outbreaks. Currently the WHO can only get involved when invited by a country.
The document also urges Member States to provide more unspecified funding to the agency. Currently this is at about US $5 billion a year. More than 80% of the agency’s current budget is also earmarked for specific programs. There is only about US $1 billion a year to deploy rapidly in the case of unpredicted emergencies.
Increasing the un-earmarked budget would make the WHO more efficient in dealing with emergencies rather than dealing with fundraising during emergency situations.
According to Reuters as reported by Health Policy Watch, the proposed reforms may be discussed as early as mid-September.