The United States's financial contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO) fell by 25% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to provisional data revealed by Reuters, as Washington reconsiders its support for the organization.
The sharp drop in funding over the past two years stemmed from cuts in former US President Donald Trump, which reveal for the first time the magnitude of the Trump administration's departure from the UN body.
The report says US funding is set to rise again in the next two years of the WHO budget following new commitments in December, including $ 280 million from President Joe Biden's government.
However, the Biden administration has also raised doubts about Washington's future support for the world body. The US is now opposed to a proposal to increase mandatory contributions to cover 50% of the WHO budget, a proposal that is part of a broader plan that would give the agency more autonomy.
The UN agency received more than $ 200 million less than the United States in 2020 and 2021, according to provisional WHO data contained in a budget document cited by Reuters, which has not yet been made public.
Washington paid $ 672 million to the WHO, up from $ 893 million in 2018-19.
Germany is the first donor
As a result, the United States is no longer the WHO's top donor, with Germany taking the reins, with bids of more than $ 1 billion over the past two years.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the third largest donor to the WHO, with $ 584 million in 2020-2021 spent heavily on a global polio eradication program.
Over the past two years, US capital has fallen sharply, mainly in 2020 – Trump's last full year in the White House.
Funding doubled in 2021 when Biden took over, but the increase was not enough to fully restore the level of US funding compared to previous periods.
Trump cut funding and withdrew the United States from the WHO, accusing it of being too close to China and mismanaging the first phase of the pandemic – accusations the WHO has denied.
The Biden administration has returned Washington to the WHO and promised to resume funding, but has also questioned the WHO's ability to meet new challenges, including with China.