Humanitarian Health Action

Update on HAC and resource mobilization at the global level

Monthly Highlights - February 2011

Funding for WHO’s emergency work

WHO could not carry out its emergency work without the continuing generous contributions of its partners including individual donor governments and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). WHO relies almost entirely on these contributions to enable it to intervene promptly in disasters and complex emergencies and thus ensure better health outcomes for populations affected by crises.

Both the financial resources and the implementation rate for WHO’s emergency work have increased over the past biennia. The funds received for WHO’s emergency work represent 12% of WHO’s approved budget. The implementation rate has risen from 67% to 82% between 2006–2007 and 2008–2009.

The graph below illustrates funding for WHO’s emergency work between 2006 and 2010–2011

Funding for WHO’s emergency work between 2006 and 2010

Most of the voluntary funds received have been allocated to country operations. In 2010 the main recipients were EMRO with 46% of the funding, AFRO with 13% and AMRO with 8%. EURO received over 3%, SEARO 8% and WPRO 2%. Global activities (including funding for provision of emergency supplies to field operations) have received around 20% of the funds.

The CERF has become WHO’s main single donor. In 2010 WHO received grants for a total of US$ 49 million. CERF funds have supported emergency health activities in more than 63 countries between 2006 and 2010.

Although CERF funds have been instrumental in boosting WHO’s operations in countries in crises, CERF funding is tightly earmarked to the life-saving activities and has a short implementation period. Therefore additional flexible funding is needed to sustain health interventions once the acute phase is over. Voluntary contributions from Member States continue to be a large source of funding for WHO’s work in humanitarian emergencies.

Whereas funding support for field activities is growing, funding for support or “backstopping” activities, at global and regional level is increasingly difficult to obtain. For 2008-2008, flexible voluntary contributions amounted to approximately US$ 9 million for headquarters. By the end of 2010 only US$ 4.8 million had been received for the current biennium 2010–2011. All other humanitarian agencies receive a larger proportion of flexible funds compared to WHO.

The graph below illustrates funds received from the CERF between 2006 and 2010

The graph illustrates funds received from the CERF between 2006 and 2010

Strategic Objective Five: additional resources allocated to crisis work

In 2007, the World Health Assembly approved the WHO Medium Term Strategic Plan for 2008–2013. This global planning tool has identified 13 priority areas for the Organization. Of those, Strategic Objective Five (SO5) focuses on redoing the health consequences of emergencies, disasters, crises and conflicts, and minimizing their social and economic impact.

Approximately 95% of the income for SO5 comes from voluntary funds raised through different funding mechanisms and only 5% comes from assessed contributions.* The total approved budget for Strategic Objective 5 was US£ 364 million, of which US$ 109 million (30%) was for base programmes and an initial estimated amount of US$ 250 million for outbreak and crises response (OCR) to fund specific country-level appeals in response to crises. During 2010, the funding that could be received for SO5 was increased to US$ 510 million to allow for an increase in resources needed for OCR for the continued procurement of supplies and medicines.

Challenges ahead

Un-earmarked predictable funding is essential to improve HAC’s humanitarian role. Budgets for core programmes in the HAC cluster are dropping (US$ 17 million for 2010-2011, down from US$ 26 million for 2008–2009) It is expected that major funding shortfalls will continue. HAC is trying to have a more committed approach to resource mobilization that would enhance the capacities of country and regional offices.

Currently a funding strategy is being developed to mobilize flexible resources. Targeting emerging countries and building private sector partnerships are part of its efforts to expand innovative practices and to seek alternative means of funding. Strategies that could engage the Diaspora, non-state actors, social networks and others in an effort to support Who’s work in emergencies.

* Assessed contributions, previously known as Regular Budget, are the financial contributions that Members States give to WHO as members of the Organization. These are independent from other bilateral or voluntary contributions that they may choose to give to the Organization for specific programmes or projects.

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