The New WHO Foundation — Global Health Deserves Better
The WHO plays a crucial role in global health but has had well-documented issues with funding in terms of the models of funding adopted, the size and sources of contributions and the influence of certain donors in driving specific priorities.
This year the WHO Foundation has been launched as a way to broaden the WHO donor pool. We describe a lack of clarity about the applicability of Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) norms and practices to this new entity.
The risks regarding undue corporate influence at the expense of independence were at the core of the protected negotiations underpinning the development of the FENSA that guides the WHO itself, but do not appear to be reflected in the Foundations’ governance structures.
Considering past failed initiatives, and how many global health challenges, including non-communicable diseases and climate change, are driven by powerful transnational companies, the WHO cannot afford to be seen to sacrifice independence or impartiality to the commercial determinants of health in pursuit of funding.