PBAC Reports

Key documents

  • Report of the extraordinary PBAC meeting, 6-7 Dec 2012 (EB132/3)
  • Report of PBAC17, 17-18 Jan 2013 (EB132/43)

Key issues for EB consideration

PHM comment pre-EB

The Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of WHOs Executive Board (PBAC) has discussed in its extraordinary meeting proposals to improve WHO's financing. Financing is a fundamental challenge of the organisation. The proposals now presented are a good first step towards a decent funded WHO.

We have three remarks regarding the PBAC report and the financing proposals.

Firstly, we note that the PBAC-meeting, under its revised terms of reference, has become an important moment to advice on crucial policies for the organisation, such as the Programme of Work and the financing of the programme budget. Seen the enhanced relevance of the PBAC, we ask member states to be serioulsy involved in its proceedings. It will be similar relevant to open the PBAC to observing non-state organisations, as to improve the transparency and accountability of WHOs governing bodies. 

Secondly, The proposed financing dialogue is in essence a pledging conference, despite all its transparency and improved mechanisms to fund the entire budget. The dialogue will lead to a further institutionalization of what is called “multi-bi financing”. This refers to the practice of donors choosing to route non-core funding earmarked through multilateral agencies. It reflects a desire by participating governments, and others, to control international agencies more tightly.

Multi-bi financing leads to an increased competition between WHO and other global health actors for funding to implement short-term, cost-effective, targeted programs. Short-term funding will erode the knowledge capacity of the WHO, which has been build-up over the last decades.

We recommend that the financing dialogue not only indicates how member states and non-state agencies fund the WHO budget, but also to what extent they fund other relevant multilateral global health institutions. This extended transparency, that provides a broader picture on financing for global health, will bring more coherence and clarification what WHO’s core role is in relation to other global health actors.

Finally; we suggest the EB to install a working group to explore if and how a mechanism to increase WHOs’ core budget can be implemented. This could be via an increase in assessed contributions, and perhaps also via innovative financing mechanisms, such as a financial transaction tax or other taxation regimes. An increase in core, predictable, funding is crucial to secure WHOs essential functions in the long term. 

Report of discussion

The chair of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee (PBAC) of the Executive Board (EB) opened the agenda item presenting the report to the EB for comments.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), Lithuania said that improving financing of the WHO is not an end in itself but a mean to ensuring that the WHO can deliver. It also requested the Director General to explore options for the work of the governing bodies, added that increasing of assessed contribution is not an option, and welcomed the proposal around improved financing and the assessment of the full financing dialogue.

The United States of America (USA) said they are pleased with the outcomes of PBAC and that “considering the deadline, there is no need for an immediate action, but it is an important item to take into consideration’’.

Switzerland expressed its concern about the improvement of resource mobilization activities and the late release of documents emphasising that it undermines the quality of discussions. It also recalled the need to create subgroups with specific specializations.

Cuba was of the view that the meeting of PBAC should be held in December in order to allow additional time to look at the report. The country also said that the existing financial gaps need to be addressed, and that more voluntary contributions from Member States have to be provided, when possible. Cuba finally suggested the need to look at donors with caution because of the possible influence on the independence of WHO.

Cameroon, speaking on behalf of the African Region, expressed its support to the proposal of having the entire approval of the budget at the WHA. It also appreciated the budget allocated for polio and the possibility for the eradication to became a reality. Concerning human resources, Cameroon expressed the need for adjustments for recruitment and improvement of gender balance.

Closing the discussion on the PBAC report, the Director General of WHO thanked Member States for their comments and assured them by saying that more information on how the financial dialogue should be run will be provided. She also pointed out that, concerning the financial dialogue, it is not important who will participate, but which would be the expected outcomes.

PHM comment post-EB

Other reports and commentary