The European Union expects the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide greater transparency in how states deal with emerging health crises. In a reform draft from October 19, available to Reuters, the WHO is urged to take appropriate action.
Alleged proximity to China
The US had accused the WHO of being too close to China and failing to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The leadership in Beijing had been criticized from many quarters for exchanging crucial information too slowly about the novel virus, which first appeared in the Chinese provincial capital Wuhan at the end of 2019. As a result, US President Donald Trump announced the US would leave the WHO.
The WHO had repeatedly denied the allegations. The WHO was initially unable to provide a statement on the reform paper that was drawn up by the German government as part of its EU Council Presidency after talks with other member states.
The government did not want to comment on this because it was a draft. The EU is one of the largest donors to WHO and would be by far the largest public contributor if the US withdrew from the organization.
Paper calls for a better reporting system
Lack of transparency and inadequate funding for the organization are among the most pressing of many challenges that WHO is facing, according to the report. The draft also calls for a more effective and consistently applied reporting system for reporting by States parties to WHO.
China said it wanted to play an active role in the WHO reform process. Reforms should be based on consensus among member states and WHO should be better protected from political factors, a State Department spokesman said.