Item 5.5 - 5.7: Financial reform

Madam Chair, 

Norway is pleased that the new financial model has become operational, bringing with it the potential to change the financing of WHO. To us, this is a crucial element of the reform. An important achievement of the financing dialogue is the growing sense of collective responsibility for aligning the available funding to the priorities we make. The financing dialogue has succeeded in bringing together member states and other donors to openly discuss challenges and solutions regarding the ways in which the priorities in the programme budget may be financed, taking us closer to the principles underlying programmatic reform. The level of 85% indicative overall funding even before the biennium started is in our view a very positive outcome of the dialogue Still, we recognize there are challenges of distribution across categories and programmes which underscore the need for robustness and adequate flexibility within each category.

We understand the need for ensuring operational continuity at the beginning of the biennium, and note the decision to allocate 80% of assessed contributions to this end. This seems like a sensible step, we would however like to ask if flexibility will be maintained with regard to these allocations in the sense that they might be reallocated later in the budget cycle should a category become fully financed through voluntary contributions. 

The new web portal will provide us with a useful tool for accountability and transparency, giving us further insight into WHO’s financial situation and the progress of the programme budget. It will also be an important tool for strengthened results based management internally, another important element of the reform.  As we take the new financing model forward we will still meet challenges. Coordinated resource mobilization for the remaining gaps will pose new demands on all of us. To achieve strong coordination of the fundraising activities, HQ must take a leading role, and as many have already noted, the new approach will require significant changes of behaviour from both WHO, member states and other contributors. 

A critical factor for continuous success will be the development of a budget with a complete result chain, including costing of outputs and division of labour throughout the organization. This must also be the basis for allocation of resources across WHO. The three pillars defining the method proposed are likely to contribute to this end.  Like others we prefer an effective and smooth process when taking the work on strategic resource allocation forward. It is important to avoid that also the next Programme Budget becomes a transitional one. This could be detrimental to the progress achieved on financial reform so far. The light process outlined by the DG seems to find middle ground and we believe it would be a good way forward.

Thank you.