Thank you Chair,
Norway recognizes that delivering on the reforms decided at the Special Session on Ebola in January will come at a cost to the Member States, and we are willing to support a budget space increase for that reason.
That being said, we are not entirely satisfied with the way the Programme Budget is presented. As we have stated on numerous occasions, including at the Regional Committee last fall and the meeting of the Executive Board in January, a meaningful involvement of the Member States in determining the WHOs strategic priorities necessitates a detailed budget which demonstrates the connection between planned expenses and planned deliverables. Despite assurances that the final version of this Budget would contain more detailed costing information for outputs, we still believe that the budget falls short of providing the necessary detail.
The lack of such transparency and clarity is detrimental for the discussions about strategic direction for WHO, as well as the organisation itself. Without sufficient level of detail, the budget loses its value as a governance tool including its utility in efforts to measure and improve cost effectiveness. Without sufficient level of detail, it also loses its ability to convince Member States of the need for greater resources. An unclear, and unspecified budget, can always be countered with the argument that any new initiative is possible within the budget space.
We also note with considerable concern the findings in the report of the Internal Auditor, and caution that unsatisfactory internal control in the long run will negatively affect the Member States willingness to invest in the organisation.
We are firm supporters of WHO, and believe that the events of the last year have underlined WHO’s enduring relevance as well as its urgent need for strengthening. Bearing in mind that WHO already depends to a large extent on voluntary contributions, and that the increases we are now discussing will finance global public goods on which we all will depend, Norway would prefer that budget increases should be financed by assessed contributions.