April 15, 2020 – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday upheld the importance of international solidarity in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic: a “dangerous enemy” to all humanity.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking to journalists one day after the United States announced that it was cutting funding to the UN health agency, pending a review of how the agency responded to the initial outbreak in China that first surfaced at the very end of December.
“The United States of America has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so”, he said.
“We regret the decision of the President of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization”.
Tedros underlined the agency’s commitment to serving the world’s people, but also to accountability for the use of its resources.
“In due course, WHO’s performance in tackling this pandemic will be reviewed by WHO’s Member States and the independent bodies that are in place, to ensure transparency and accountability. This is part of the usual process put in place by our Member States”, he stated.
In the interim, WHO is reviewing the impact the funding withdrawal will have on its operations.
The agency has begun working with partners to fill any resulting financial gaps, to ensure that its activities can continue uninterrupted.
Tedros upheld WHO’s fundamental and founding commitment to public health and to science, and its mandate to work with all nations on equal terms.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small. It does not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies”, he said.
“Neither do we. This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat – a dangerous enemy”.