Germany, France offer political, financial aid to beleaguered WHO

The UN agency is to receive almost €650m in funding from both countries this year

Photo: Reuters France's Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier Veran, flanked by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-general of the WHO and Germany's Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn.

France and Germany expressed on Thursday political and financial backing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its fight against COVID-19, with Berlin saying it would contribute a record €500m in funding this year. As German Health Minister Jens Spahn said, the contribution was the “highest amount that we have ever donated” to the WHO.

“We need a strong, transparent and accountable WHO today more than ever,” he said during a joint conference in Geneva. “A WHO able to lead and coordinate the global response effort.”

Meanwhile, France announced it would give €90m to a WHO research centre in Lyon as well as an additional contribution of €50m.

“I truly believe the world needs, more than ever, a multilateral organisation,” French Health Minister Olivier Veran said. “I believe the world cannot get rid of partners. We need a global answer (to COVID-19) and only the WHO can provide that answer.”

The move comes after last month US President Donald Trump said that the United States was cutting ties with the “China-centric” WHO, though the UN agency has still not been formally notified. The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400m in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.

Yet, European governments are working with the United States on plans to overhaul the WHO, a top European health official said last week, signalling that Europe shares some of the concerns that led Washington to say it would quit.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles