Washington, D.C. (Sept. 2, 2020) – The Better World Campaign today urged Congress to address the withholding of U.S. dues currently owed to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The administration’s announcement that it plans to withhold all but $108 million owed to WHO flouts the bipartisan will of Congress. Over the past 5 years, the U.S. averaged $420 million each year in assessed and voluntary contributions.
U.S. funding has helped WHO coordinate the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO has worked closely with the U.S. on issues long considered vital to American interests, like eradicating smallpox, containing infectious diseases, and developing the annual flu vaccine. Most recently the WHO certified Africa as free from the wild polio virus, a monumental achievement. The withdrawal of U.S. funding jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of such efforts, leaving WHO with a budget shortfall of approximately $300-400 million, in the midst of a pandemic.
In today’s announcement, the administration also stated its intention to begin an early withdrawal from WHO, ceding U.S. leadership in global health decisions, even though the U.S. remains eligible to participate.
Withholding funds from WHO contravenes a 1948 joint Congressional resolution, which set conditions for a U.S. withdrawal.
The Congressional statute states in part, that if the U.S. chose to withdraw from the WHO, “…the financial obligations of the United States to the Organization shall be met in full for the Organization’s current fiscal year.”
“We urge Congress to keep the U.S. in the forefront of global health leadership, by paying our dues to the WHO and to the United Nations,” Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign, said.
“The United States is a great nation,“ Yeo added, “and great nations pay their dues.”
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign, an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice. For more information, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.