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World Health Organization – who is contributing and who is not (CSS Essay Material)

World Health Organization – who is contributing and who is not (CSS Essay Material)
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The World Health Organization operates on a two-year budget cycle with a target of $4.8 billion. The annual budget thus is approximately $2,4 billion per year, with further targets for extreme emergencies.

The WHO receives funds in two ways:

  1. Assessed [pledged by countries] (17% of budget), Contributions (77%) and other contributions (6%)
  2. Voluntary contributions from countries, organizations and individuals.

For the 2020-2021 budget, $957 million was budgeted from assessed contributions and $4.9 billion from voluntary contributions. The invoiced assessed budget usually has a shortfall – such as the $218 million amount outstanding for the 2020 budget – due to poorer countries not able to meet their commitments but this shortfall is covered by the voluntary contributions made by the top contributors.

World Health Organization contributionsWHO top contributors

The 20 top contributors commit almost 50% of the WHO budget.

Country/Organization Assessed (if applicable) + Voluntary = Total

  • United States $237M + $656M = $893M
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $531M
  • UK $43M + $392M = $435
  • Gavi Alliance $371M
  • Germany $61M + $231M = $292M
  • Japan $93M + $122M = $215M
  • UNOCHA $192M
  • Rotary International $143M
  • World Bank $133M
  • European Commission $131M
  • National Philanthropic Trust $108M
  • Canada $28M + $73M = $107M
  • U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund $87M
  • Norway $8M + $78M = $88M
  • China $76M + $10M = $86M
  • France $52M + $23.4M = $75.4M
  • Republic of Korea $19.5 + $51M = $70.5M
  • Kuwait $2.7M + $67M = $69.7M
  • Australia $1.6M + $45M = $46.6M
  • Sweden $9M + $36M = $45M

Forbes notes that since 2010, the United States government voluntarily contributed roughly $2.9 billion more than their required contribution.

In April 2020, the United States suspended funding pending an investigation into the WHO’s handling of and China’s deceit about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

WHO members

The WHO, governed by the World Health Assembly, has 194 member states, two associate members – Puerto Rico and Tokelau – and observer status members such as The Holy See and the Order of Malta. To be part of the organization, each member is required to pay a certain amount, the “assessed contribution.”

In one of many WHO controversies Taiwan is, under political pressure from China, barred from WHO membership. Taiwan’s inclusion in WHO is supported by Australia, Germany, Japan and the United States, whose combines voluntary contribution is about 24% of the total voluntary support while China’s voluntary contribution is 0.21%.

Which countries are not contributing

Poor countries – mostly African and Muslim – are not in a position to meet their commitments to the World Health Organization but are, of course, the most depend on WHO services.

Somalia, for instance, is invoiced for only $4,760 per year (against a GDP of $7.7 billion) but is in arrears for $433,616. Other countries rocked by conflict, corruption and mismanagement – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, etc. – also are in arrears in multiples of their assessed contributions. (Even China and other main contributors are in arrears.)

Non-payment of fees does not prohibit a country from receiving support or being excluded from representation on the 34-member WHO Executive Board.

World Health Organization salaries

The WHO operation and management budget is $400M per annum but the actual requirement is more than double the amount.

The organization employs more than 8,000 staff around the world. The average salary is $77K per year with top earners earning twice that and the executives earning around $200,000 gross per annum. The Director-General receives $240,000 per annum.

About $200M is spent on travel every year which, as Associated Press pointed out, is more than what it spends to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Thus over five years they spend $1 billion on travel.

Other international aid agencies, including Doctors Without Borders, explicitly forbid their staff from traveling in business class. Even the charity’s president must fly in economy class, a spokeswoman said. With a staff of about 37,000 aid workers versus WHO’s 7,000 staffers, Doctors Without Borders spends about $43 million on travel a year.

The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, which has about 13,000 staffers, said it spent $140 million on global travel in 2016.

WHO budget in comparison

The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) budget is $11 billion per year.

In comparison with other United Nations programs –

World Health Organization and UN budgets

The World Food Program raises more than $8 billion per year, of which $3,400 million is donated by the United States and $30 million by China.

UNICEF (United Nations Childrens’ Fund) receives more than $5,5 billion per year, one third of which are through private funding and the rest through the government sector of which the United States contributes more than $400 million per year.

The UNHRC (United Nation Refugee Agency) receives more than $8 billion in contributions, of which $1,600 million is from the United States and $478 million from the second largest contributor, the European Union. China contributes less than 2 million dollars.

The IOM (International Organization for Migration) has a budget of $1.8 billion, of which $255 million is contributed by the United States.

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