Fears of “threats from China” .. the United States opposes a plan to strengthen the independence of the World Health Organization

Reuters reported that the United States, the largest donor to the World Health Organization, is opposed to a proposed plan to strengthen the organization’s independence by increasing permanent funding, citing concerns that the organization will be unable to meet future threats, including those from China.

A WHO document published on the Internet and dated January 4th shows that this proposal by the Working Group on Permanent Finance calls for an increase in the annual permanent contribution of each member state.

The proposal is part of a broader reform called for by the “Covid-19” pandemic, which highlighted the shortcomings of the World Health Organization in early intervention to address health crises.

But US officials told Reuters that the US administration opposes this proposal because it has concerns about the ability of the World Health Organization to confront threats in the future, including those from China.

Instead, Washington is calling for a separate fund, directly controlled by donors, to finance health emergency prevention and control measures.

Reuters said that 4 European officials involved in the organization’s reform talks – who declined to be named – confirmed the United States’ opposition to the proposal.

The proposal calls – according to the published document – to gradually increase the mandatory contributions of member states, starting in 2024, to reach 50 percent of the organization’s basic budget of two billion dollars by 2028, compared to less than 20 percent at the present time.

The WHO’s core budget aims to combat epidemics and strengthen health care systems around the world. In addition, WHO raises an additional $1 billion or so annually to address specific global challenges, such as tropical diseases and influenza.

Supporters of the proposal say that the WHO’s current reliance on voluntary funding from member states and charities forces the organization to pay attention to the priorities set by funders, and reduces its ability to criticize members when things go wrong.

An independent commission on epidemics, which was hired to advise on WHO reform, called for the mandatory contributions to be increased by a much larger percentage than proposed, to 75% of the base budget, as the committee found that the current system represented a “significant risk to the integrity and independence” of WHO.

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