COVID-19 funding and money for much of the WHO’s work comes from voluntary contributions from states, international organizations, and the private sector.
Its core budget, however, is raised from membership dues. The United States has not paid its dues to the organization for 2020, nor has it paid most of 2019’s bill. The United States paid 12.5 of the organization’s voluntary revenue in 2018. This is funding donors can choose to withhold.
Mandatory – or “assessed’ – contributions to the WHO, on the other hand, are part of a member’s obligations and cannot be indefinitely skipped. Percentages are calculated and assigned to members proportional to their national wealth. The US share is 22 percent of the annual core budget.
Ahead of the US funding boycott, the WHO already had commitments amounting to 94 percent of its $450 million COVID-19 funding target for this year. As of 9 April, it had received $365 million (about four percent of which was from the United States), and recorded pledges for a further $61 million, including an unknown US amount.
So Trump’s funding cut announcement would appear to have a limited impact on the WHO’s COVID-19 response in 2020, with Kuwait, Japan, and the European Commission being the largest donors. The US contribution, recorded at $14 million, puts it in seventh place as a country donor.
While the WHO should be able to weather a US funding freeze for COVID-19, its long term prospects may be of greater concern.
[The New Humanitarian]