U.S. Will Pay WHO Over $200 Million By End of February
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken

The United States will pay over $200 million it owes to the WHO by the end of February, marking a positive step to restabilize the global health body’s fragile finances at a time when they are most needed.

“This is a key step forward in fulfilling our financial obligations as a WHO member and it reflects our renewed commitment to ensuring the WHO has the support it needs to lead the global response to the pandemic,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

“The United States will work as a partner to address global challenges. This pandemic is one of those challenges and gives us an opportunity not only to get through the current crisis, but also to become more prepared and more resilient for the future.”

The move comes less than a month after the Biden administration rejoined the WHO as part of its seven-point pandemic plan, reversing former president Donald J Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Organization and suspend its contributions.

In 2019, the US was the global health body’s largest donor, with a US$400 million contribution that represented 15% of the WHO’s annual budget. In total, the Organization’s budget equates to that of two sub-regional hospitals.

The US will also provide “significant” financial support to the international COVAX facility to equitably distribute vaccines around the world, added Blinken. Co-led by WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, COVAX is still facing a US $27 billion shortfall in funding.

Image Credits: U.S. Department of State / Ronny Przysucha.

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