Germany overtakes US as top donor as WHO chief calls for funding reform

The leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that Germany became its first donor, supplanting Washington, and called for sweeping changes to reform its funding model.

the US resists funding proposal it would make the UN health body more independent, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s long-term support for the agency. The announcement, confirmed by WHO data, comes as The WHO’s executive board begins a week-long meeting to discuss its funding and management.

“As you all know, Germany is an important friend and long-time partner of WHO and in fact is now WHO’s largest donor,” the Director-General said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking alongside German Development Minister Svenja Schulze.

Germany is this year chair of the Group of Seven Major Economies, and Schulze said his top priority was to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Tedros praised Germany’s commitment to vaccine sharing as well as its “visionary approach, rooted in partnership, solidarity and multilateralism”.

WHO data up to the end of November 2021 showed Germany at the top of the table of Member States combined obligatory and Vvoluntary contributions for 2020-2021, followed by United States and Britain. Washington remains the largest contributor of mandatory funds. In a speech to the board, Tedros called for a “paradigm shift” in WHO funding. “Let me be clear: if the current funding model continues, the WHO is failing,” he said.