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WHO - 75th World Health Assembly - EU Statement: Item 13: Sustainable financing : report of the Working Group

Chair,

Director General,

Excellencies,

Colleagues,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member states.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[1], Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

There is international consensus that the financial support provided to WHO is not sufficient for it to deliver on its base programme and thus meet the expectations of WHO’s member states. For years, the focus has been on WHO's inadequate funding without reaching consensus on appropriate solutions.

This is not merely about providing WHO with the right amount and quality of sustainable finances, but more importantly about WHO’s present and future leadership role on all aspects of global health.

We therefore welcome that the intensive negotiation process in the Working Group on Sustainable Financing has successfully concluded in a broad consensus. We share the view that we have reached the first step in the necessary breakthrough towards an effective, agile and well-financed WHO of the future.

We would like to thank the bureau of the Working Group, which led the negotiations with great dedication and skill, and, of course, all member states who contributed constructively to enable this important outcome.

The activities of the Working Group have once again demonstrated the imbalance and inefficiencies of the current financial model and highlighted the urgent need for ambitious reforms. The dependency of WHO on voluntary and earmarked contributions for the implementation of its core programme is unsustainable. Not only because we expect WHO to play an independent and central role in the global health architecture, but also to enable WHO to coordinate the response to health emergencies.

We support the aspiration for a gradual increase of assessed contributions taking into account countries’ national capacities, accompanied by appropriate in-depth reforms and implementation plans. The main objective is to strengthen the organization through improving the budget preparation process, prioritizing activities and reforming the governance.

This is why we support the idea of establishing a task group of Member States for strengthening WHO's budgetary governance at EB151, which would present recommendations for long-term improvements to the thirty-seventh meeting of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of the Executive Board in January 2023. We also want to emphasize the need for the member states to show better budgetary discipline. Member States must refrain from micromanaging the implementation of the agreed programme and stop asking for new programmes or priorities without the provision of additional, non-earmarked funding.

We stand ready to adopt the recommendations made by the WGSF during this WHA, including on the important role of assessed contributions to contribute to financial sustainability of WHO with an aspiration to reach a level of 50% of the 2022–2023 base budget by the biennium 2030–2031, while ensuring budgetary, programmatic, finance, governance and accountability deliverables, enabling it to successfully deliver on its mandated work. We are committed to ensuring that the reform process proceeds constructively across all its foreseen implementation stages.

 


[1] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.