The World Health Organization has launched a new foundation for private donations to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was disclosed on Wednesday May 27, 2020, by WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The health agency stated that the initiative was aimed at directing philanthropic and public donations towards pressing problems such as the coronavirus crisis.
The vast majority of the WHO’s budget is in voluntary contributions which go straight from countries and other donors to their chosen destination.
The WHO only has control over the spending of countries’ “assessed contributions” membership fees, which are calculated on their wealth and population.
While launching the new foundation at the organisation’s headquarters in Geneva, Ghebreyesus stated that “One of the greatest threats to WHO’s success is the fact that less than 20 percent of our budget comes in the form of flexible assessed contributions from member states, while over 80 percent is voluntary contributions, which are usually tightly earmarked for specific programmes,” he said.
“There is a clear need to broaden our donor base, and to improve both the quantity and quality of funding we receive,” he added.
According to WHO, the new foundation will facilitate contributions from the general public, individual major donors and corporate partners. Its goal is to help the organisation achieve more sustainable and predictable funding.
Given the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the WHO Foundation will focus initially on emergencies and pandemic response.
Tedros, however, remarked that the new grant-making funding stream was not related to Trump’s threat to freeze its contributions.
“It has nothing to do with the recent funding issues. It had been among the organisation’s long-term reform plans since July 2017,” he said.
Trump, accusing the WHO of mismanaging the pandemic, has frozen US funding and could pull out of the organisation next month if he does not see what he believes to be satisfactory changes.
Trump also claimed that WHO is too close to Beijing and covered up the initial outbreak in China.
Tedros warned that the world remained vulnerable to the next pandemic coming down the line.
“Our focus should not be managing disease but in preventing it from happening,” he said.