the choice of America first

The Trump administration on Tuesday formally announced its intention to withdraw from the World Health Organization in the midst of the Covid-19 health crisis. What are the consequences for the UN agency? Here are some answers.

Donald Trump has moved to the World Health Organization (WHO). Following several threats, the US President officially launched the procedure on Tuesday, July 7, to withdraw from the UN bureau. How can you understand this liberation? What consequences, especially during this pandemic period? As many questions as we asked AnneSénéquier, physician and researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris), specialist in health issues.

France 24: How does this explain US withdrawal from the WHO?

AnneSénéquier:Donald Trump’s policy is governed by the motto “America First”.And to be credible, the activities must follow the words. This withdrawal is clearly a message addressed to the American people and, in particular, to the voters who will be voting next November. It has its own Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Atlanta Center for Prevention and Control (CDC) and pleases its constituents, while enabling China and the WHO to be traceable and minimizing its responsibility for dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. .

Other reasons – more less – weighed in the balance. In particular, the issue of Taiwan. The Americans did not appreciate that Taiwan could not attend a world meeting in Santécar, this tiny island state – which is officially China-based – in fact, to contain the epidemic in its territory. But Beijing did not approve of its presence due to political differences. In addition to these disagreements, there was slow and opaque communication from the world institution during the Covid-19 crisis.

All this led to a rapid departure from Washington. It is also not expected that a member can leave WHO in the articles of his constitution, this reflects the optimism of its founding members! We did not see how we could pull out of an organization that aims to improve the health of everyone. The US withdrawal shows how much the political game has taken over today. Donald Trump also sends the message to the international community that the US is no longer cooperating on this issue, and that it is a real problem …

>> Read: Trump threatens WHO … What consequences can I expect?

What are the financial implications for the World Health Organization?

They are quite important. With a financial contribution of 15% of the WHO budget, or $ 400 million per year, the United States is the largest donor to the Geneva-based organization, which will have its members review their funding model. began to face Donald Trump’s repeated threats. WHO has called on countries that have not yet paid their participation to provide their funding. Others, like China, have increased their voluntary contribution. It must also diversify its contributions by reaching out to private investors, with all risks. that this represents.

Specifically, the amputation of this budget has reduced the polio vaccination program. In fact, every donor reserves the right to support the projects they are interested in. Since 1988, US funds have largely funded the vaccine campaign to eradicate polio. Today we were almost done with the infectious disease that has no treatment. Only 33 cases were reported last year in the world. Reducing funding for this program risks creating new cases. Medicine estimates that if we stop proactive vaccination, we could see 200,000 new cases over the next ten years. It is also 30 years of work that is taking off.

But the picture is not so bleak: By withdrawing from the WHO, the US has still announced that they will donate funds to organizations they consider more relevant as GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, which actively contributes to a wide vaccination around the world. In June, Americans also released more than a billion dollars in favor of this organization, so we can believe that American interest in global health still exists. Another good news, the other WHO donor is Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also works in the fight against polio.

Withdrawal is particularly damaging to Americans themselves. In the emergency of the Covid-19 health crisis, some of the funds allocated to the polio program were redirected to the management of coronavirus. Americans are affected by the progress of this pandemic.

The fact remains that the US withdrawal represents a global issue of unsustainable financing. Moreover, its budget is ridiculous in terms of the importance of the structure: its appropriations are much lower than the budget for Paris hospitals. With less than 5 billion, we ask WHO to coordinate vaccination campaigns, eradicate certain diseases, get normative functions on health protocols, that’s insufficient.

Can we be afraid that other countries will withdraw from the organization?

It is very possible. This hypothesis cannot be ruled out by the game of political alliance. JairBolsonaroquia, after the same speech as Donald Trump since the beginning of the pandemic, was able to withdraw Brazil from the organization. News.

In any case, the WHO will not avoid reforming its function. It is necessary, the organization is from 1945! But throughout its history, after every health crisis – Sras, H1N1, Ebola -, the WHO has simultaneously shown that it knows how to make changes. The American withdrawal will also contribute to the necessity of this issue.

Despite some dysfunctions, the WHO has proven the importance of its role in this health crisis. Every country agency has its health problems, we cannot overcome a pandemic like Covid, with a global administration. Fear and the national setback lead to the repatriation of pharmaceutical companies, the desire for autonomy towards equipment, drugs, conceals the organisation’s cooperation aspect, but it would be a shame to do without this multilateralism. Covid-19 health crisis has clearly shown this.