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WHO Member States Adopt Resolutions On Financing, Reform And Flu Pandemic At World Health Assembly

A committee of WHO member governments this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva “adopted a resolution on the future financing of the organisation and a broad set of reforms, as well as a resolution on the WHO’s management of [the H1N1] influenza pandemic showing no evidence of wrongdoing,” Intellectual Property Watch reports (Saez, 5/20). 

“Member states on Thursday set the WHO budget for the next two years at $3.96 billion, about 20 percent less than the $4.8 billion first sought by management, officials said,” Reuters reports, adding that the budget likely will be formally adopted later in the meeting. Under the budget, “travel, publications and staff will be cut at the WHO Geneva headquarters, which employs 2,400 people,” and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the smaller budget marked “the start of a new and enduring era of economic austerity” for the agency, according to Reuters (Nebehay/Lewis, 5/19). 

The reform resolution proposes the establishment of a World Health Forum, a “multi-stakeholder platform,” including member states, civil society, private sector, academia and other international organizations, that would “have a role in identifying, from the different perspectives of its participants, future priorities in global health,” according to a document (.pdf) presented to member states. However, some member states expressed concern over the cost of the idea, as well as possible conflict-of-interest issues among participants, Intellectual Property Watch reports. The article includes reactions from member countries and international organizations to the budget, reform proposals and adoption of the report on the influenza pandemic (5/20).