Donors and WHO discuss the transformative impact of the Contingency Fund for Emergencies

The Ministry of Health and health authorities respond to Ebola outbreak in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with WHO support. ©WHO/AFRO

Geneva, 2 February 2022 – Contributors to the WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) met today with WHO representatives to reflect on the impact that has been achieved through the Fund, and to discuss how to further strengthen it. The CFE, created in 2015, is one of WHO’s most powerful tools for responding immediately to acute health emergencies. During the dialogue, participants acknowledged the agility and rapidness of the Fund, emphasizing that in an emergency “every hour and every dollar count”, and highlighting CFE’s role in promoting global health security.

Simply put, the CFE has transformed the way in which WHO responds to emergencies. Whereas before we were left to scramble for start-up funding in the face of disease outbreaks or humanitarian crises, the CFE has now turned us very much into first responders, and at times, also providers of the last resort.

– Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Directory of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme

Jane Ellison, WHO Executive Director for External Relations and Governance said that “in many cases the CFE saves us the need to go after additional resources to respond to acute events. The CFE saves us time, and most importantly, it saves lives.”

From 2015-2021, donors to the CFE provided more than US$ 200 million. During this period more than 50 countries and territories have received CFE allocations, which have been used to respond to more than 130 emergencies, including disease outbreaks, complex humanitarian crises, natural and other disasters. The donor base of CFE has grown to 24 countries, and during the briefing the US confirmed that it is in discussions with WHO on support to the CFE and looks forward to soon becoming the 25th member of this life-saving group.

Over the last two years alone, the CFE has been critical in stopping five Ebola outbreaks in Africa, providing emergency health supplies in response to the Beirut Port blast, and getting mobile medical teams to remote locations in Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold. The Fund has also provided a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people caught up in protracted humanitarian crises such as those in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, occupied Palestinian territory, South Sudan. 

“Let me thank you, WHO Member States, for having the foresight to create a Fund back in 2015,” Dr Ryan said. “You have followed this up with great generosity. We have seen tremendous growth over the last few years in terms of contributions and the number of donors, and we look forward to welcoming more donors in the near future.”

Women carry fodder on their head in a village in Tando Mohammad Khan District, Pakistan. ©WHO/Asad Zaidi

CFE contributors from 2015-2021

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