World Bank Group Statement for the 68th World Health Assembly

May 19, 2015

Presented in discussion of item 16.1 and adoption of resolution pursuant to documents A68/24, A68/25, A68/26 and A68/27.


May 19, 2015 - Tim Evans, Senior Director, Health, Nutrition and Population, World Bank Group


Hon’ble Chair and Excellencies

The World Bank Group welcomes the draft documents and discussions related to the Ebola virus outbreak and follow-up to the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola.

At the outset, the World Bank Group acknowledges and supports the leadership of the Governments, especially the Ministries of Health, of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in their fight to get to, and sustain zero cases of EVD -- AND in their efforts to get their essential health services and economies back on track.    

The World Bank Group acknowledges the untiring and selfless efforts of the health and development communities in these three countries, members of which have worked in very adverse circumstances and against tough odds to contain this epidemic.

The World Bank Group welcomes the update on the Ebola outbreak, and appreciates the frank assessment as well as the actionable recommendations of the Ebola Interim Assessment panel as presented in its First Report. The World Bank Group very strongly supports a strengthened and well-funded WHO, which can support all countries as they prepare to meet the challenges of increased global interdependence and shared vulnerability. 

More specifically, the WBG acknowledges the important focus of the First Report on financing.  The Report's focus on the chronic under-financing of WHO arising from the Zero Economic Growth policy is critically important -- we urge all member states to reconsider this policy that places at risk all of WHO's core functions in the longer run.   

The World Bank Group strongly supports the establishment of a Contingency Fund to support WHO’s emergency response capacity.  The WBG sees this as one critical part of rebuilding the financing architecture for pandemic risk management.   On its part, the World Bank Group working closely with WHO and other development partners and the private sector is developing a global Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.  The PEFF, upon receiving an agreed "trigger" or "signal" from WHO, will disburse resources of sufficient scale - swiftly - to priority needs.   In this regard, the PEFF will complement the proposed WHO Contingency Fund by providing resources to countries and implementing agencies, including WHO, WFP, UNICEF and others, as well as NGOs, to finance containment activities in affected countries.

The World Bank Group also welcomes the plan for a Global Health Emergency Workforce to respond to acute or protracted risks and emergencies with health consequences, which is fully aligned with the White Coats initiative proposed by Chancellor Merkel. The proposed Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility will support the rapid deployment of medical and health personnel during outbreaks, and considers this to be a very critical component of a surge response.

As various processes – such as the UNSG High Level panel, WHO’s Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, the Institute of Medicine Pandemic review – move toward conclusions, it will be critical to agree how their recommendations for strengthened global risk management for pandemics can be financed swiftly and sustainably drawing on existing and new mechanisms. In this regard, the World Bank Group looks forward to organizing with WHO and other partners, in early September 2015, a high level consultation on "pandemic financing", that aims to reach consensus on both an overall framework for financing and on the specific mechanisms  that will fuel the recommendations for a renewed and revitalized pandemic preparedness and response capacity.    

We also invite all interested in discussing pandemic financing further to a technical session tomorrow morning at 7:45am on the 8th Floor of the Palais in the Delegates Restaurant...

Thank you.