WHO Assembly Covers Many Issues COVID-19, Taiwan Tedros Leadership
by Robert Davi
Foremost & First
The World Health Organization (WHO), criticized by countries like the U.S. for its alleged support for China in the current health crisis, opens Monday, one of its most complicated annual assemblies, devoted almost entirely to strengthening global coordination against the pandemic of COVID-19.
The WHO assembly will last only two days. It will be held virtually due to the limitations that the pandemic itself has imposed on travel and mass events, for which representatives of the 194 member states, among which are expected several state leaders will intervene by videoconference. My desire is to have President Trump call into the assembly with other world leaders and call China out and demand answers for the whole world to see.
The annual meeting comes at a time when the WHO is attracting almost unprecedented global attention in its 72-year history, for its coordinating and advisory role in a pandemic that affects 4.5 million people worldwide and has caused more than 300,000 deaths has also made it the target of numerous criticisms.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL TEDROS, IN THE WORLDS CROSSHAIRS
Coming mainly from the U.S., but also governments such as the Australian and German, many criticisms are directed at the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused of having relied excessively on the information provided by China in the first weeks of the crisis, at the beginning of the year.
Those criticisms led President Trump to freeze U.S. contributions to the WHO in April, representing approximately 15% of the organization’s total budget: the United States, the country with the most cases of COVID-19 in the world, 1.5 million, is traditionally the primary donor.
The European Union, another of the continents severely affected by the coronavirus in recent months, will present in the assembly a proposal for a resolution together with other members of the WHO calling for a review of the management that the organization made of the pandemic, looking for responsibilities.
The last point of the resolution, which also has Russia, Japan, Mexico, and Australia, as signatories, calls for starting as soon as possible, “a gradual process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international health response coordinated by the WHO. Against COVID-19.
The search for responsibilities could add tension to an assembly in which not only the WHO but also China, the origin of the pandemic, could receive criticism about its management.
THE TAIWAN QUESTION
The assembly will have on its agenda another stinging point related to China. This is the issue of Taiwan, the first territory in the world to initiate preventive measures against the COVID-19. Taiwan has shown one of the most exemplary efforts, having registered only 440 cases and seven deaths. It is safe to say Taiwan is the leader in COVID-19 prevention globally.
Diplomatic allies of Taiwan, including Latin American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua or Paraguay, formally have requested to invite Taiwan; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also publicly asked that the island be present, something that will be voted on during the meeting
However, it is feared that the Chinese government, openly confronting Taiwanese President Tsao Ing-wen since her arrival in office in 2016, will veto that invitation and leave the island out of the assembly, as has already happened in the past four years.
SOLIDARITY AND AWARENESS
The assembly is also expected to send a message of solidarity to health workers who have sacrificed themselves in the fight against the coronavirus (at least 100,000 worldwide contracted the disease and 260 died, according to provisional figures, although actual numbers are believed to be much higher.
Foremost & FIrst