The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced this Wednesday the creation of a foundation, whose objective will be to explore new sources of financing, through donations including by the general public, advances the 'Reuters' agency.
At a press conference in Geneva, Tedros stated that of the WHO budget, only 20 percent is for flexible use and that the remaining 80% is voluntary contributions from members who "can only be used for specific programs".
"WHO has little capacity to decide how to use its funds", he said, saying that the creation of the foundation, a legal entity separate from WHO, aims to "increase the percentage of funds for flexible use" and part of "a clear need to expand the donor base '.
The WHO Foundation will be created as an independent grantmaking entity that will support the organization's efforts to address the most urgent challenges of global health, seeking new funding from "nontraditional sources", the official said Wednesday.
It is recalled that the United States suspended WHO funding this year after President Donald Trump complained about the way the organization managed the pandemic, accusing it of having "focused only on China".
This month Trump also threatened to cut off the country's funding to the organization entirely if it did not commit to a 30-day restructuring.
However, Tedros stressed that the creation of the WHO Foundation has nothing to do with “recent funding issues, saying that the idea of creating the foundation arose about two years ago, motivated by the question of the lack of flexibility of the funds and the need increase funding sources.
The objective of receiving money through the foundation will continue to be the maintenance of the “main pillar” of WHO's activity, of guaranteeing global access to health. The difference is that now, the organization will be able to receive through the foundation direct donations from citizens or companies.
"WHO needed a strong, external and independent advocate" to achieve its health promotion goals, he argued.
The foundation's president, Thomas Zeltner, ensured that although there is no formal link between WHO and the new entity, WHO will appoint observers on the foundation's board of directors and that all contributions will be scrutinized to assess possible conflicts of interest.
The objective of all donations will be, he said, to help WHO fulfill its action programs, defined every five years.
The foundation is already accepting donations over the internet at www.whofoundationproject.org and the focus of all the money collected now will be to support the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tedros said later this month that the agency's annual budget of around $ 2.3 billion was "very, very small" for a global agency, compared to that of a medium-sized hospital in the developed world.
Tedros added that the sources of funding were very uncertain, being overly dependent on "flexible financing", which can vary, a flaw that he intends to fill now with the creation of the foundation.