Left Menu
Development News Edition

EU urges quick WHO reform, asks for more transparency in pandemics

The comments were made at a video conference of EU health ministers that endorsed an EU document on the reform of the U.N. agency which for the first time outlines a series of sweeping changes needed to boost WHO's powers and resources, as exclusively reported by Reuters in September. The moves followed criticisms that China and other countries did not share information on the COVID-19 pandemic in a timely fashion at its onset.

Reuters | London | Updated: 30-10-2020 22:05 IST | Created: 30-10-2020 21:43 IST
EU urges quick WHO reform, asks for more transparency in pandemics
The World Health Organization (WHO) Image Credit: ANI

The World Health Organization (WHO) should be quickly overhauled, get more powers to handle pandemics and expose its member states' shortfalls in health emergencies, European Union officials said on Friday. The comments were made at a video conference of EU health ministers that endorsed an EU document on the reform of the U.N. agency which for the first time outlines a series of sweeping changes needed to boost WHO's powers and resources, as exclusively reported by Reuters in September.

The moves followed criticisms that China and other countries did not share information on the COVID-19 pandemic in a timely fashion at its onset. "The current pandemic challenges us very acutely ... but it is very important that the (WHO) reform debate is held in parallel," German Health Minister Jens Spahn told a news conference.

He did not say when the reform process should begin, but stressed that as a result of the overhaul the WHO should become faster in its reaction to health crises, while its member states should share more information in emergencies. "We greatly appreciate the EU's strong leadership in global health and its steadfast support for WHO, including support for strengthening the organization," the WHO said, declining to comment specifically on the EU document.

"It is extremely important we move ahead with this reform," EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told the same news conference. After months of international pressure, an independent panel was set up in September to review the global handling of the pandemic. The process to reform the WHO would begin after that, officials had said.

The EU draft document, which will represent the EU's position at a WHO assembly in mid-November, urges the U.N. agency to make public more quickly how and whether its member states respect their obligations on sharing information on health crises. The United States has accused the WHO of being too close to China in the first phase of the pandemic, when critics say Beijing was slow in sharing crucial information on the new coronavirus which first appeared in the city of Wuhan.

The WHO has repeatedly dismissed these accusations. "Transparency on who complies with the rules is fundamental," Kyriakides told ministers at the video conference, according to her speaking notes.

The draft document also says WHO countries should allow independent epidemiological assessments on-site in high risk zones during health crises.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Smart healthcare: IoT redefining the way healthcare is delivered

As the world is embracing the new wave of digitalization triggered by the pandemic and the arrival of 5G, the adoption of IoT devices will further boom. With adoption set to soar, IoT security issues and other challenges cant be ignored any...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Sikkim reports 41 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths

Sikkims COVID-19 tally rose to 4,777 on Tuesday as 41 new infections were reported in the last 24-hours, an official said. The COVID-19 death toll in the state climbed to 102 with two more fatalities, state Information Education and Communi...

Foreign donors make Afghan aid pledges with tougher conditions

The United States pledged 600 million in civilian aid to Afghanistan next year at a key donor conference on Tuesday, but made half of it conditional on progress in U.S.-brokered peace talks underway with the Taliban. Dozens of nations, inte...

Once BJP wins GHMC polls, we will conduct surgical strike in Old City to weed out illegal Rohingyas: Bandi Sanjay

The Telangana BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar on Tuesday said that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi TRS and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen AIMIM Chief Owaisi were trying to win GHMC polls with Rohingyas, Pakistani and Afghanistani vot...

GLOBAL MARKETS-Risk assets rally to records as U.S. political uncertainty ebbs

Stocks hit record highs on Tuesday while bitcoin and oil prices also rose as political uncertainty subsided after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden got the formal go-ahead to begin his transition to the White House. Short of spelling out his d...

Give Feedback