In theory, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the coordinating agency for global health. Influential private and public actors have claimed the relevance and central role of this United Nations (UN) agency. In practice, paradoxically, the money budgeted for health goes largely to other institutions and not to the WHO. New institutions and mechanisms have been created to which funds are channeled (GAVI, The Global Fund, Act-A, CEPI, COVAX, etc.). These institutions or mechanisms are, in most cases, public-private partnerships where the pharmaceutical industry is usually present. Official Development Assistance is important but represents only 1 per cent of what developing countries’ expenditure on health. How much is spent to promote global health and where this money goes is the subject of this paper. After the experience with COVID-19, a fundamental question that must be addressed is how the global public interest can be preserved by creating common public goods and protecting human rights in the prevention, preparedness, and response to present and future pandemics.

A research paper from the South Centre: