Above all, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted one thing: when it comes to health, we’re all in this together. That is why international cooperation and the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO) is more important than ever.
As we speak, the WHO is working to track the spread of the virus globally, assess gaps and needs, equip frontline health workers with personal protective equipment, ensure lab and testing tools are available in countries around the world, and to inform communities and frontline responders with the latest technical guidance.
Ultimately the world is only as strong as its weakest health system. And if we do nothing and allow the virus to spread, it will have the chance to circle back around the globe, putting all of us at risk.
This pandemic has highlighted why international cooperation is more important than ever, as we cannot solve global problems without global solutions.
The WHO is uniquely positioned to mobilize resources behind an international effort to address COVID-19 — no other health organization has the global reach, expertise, and experience.
Many world leaders agree. Here are 10 that are taking a stand in support of the WHO.
1. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
"At a time like this, when we need to be sharing information and we need to have advice we can rely on, the WHO has provided that," Prime Minister Ardern said, accoridng to NBC News.
2. Simon Coveney, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ireland
"This is indefensible decision, in midst of global pandemic. So many vulnerable populations rely on the WHO — deliberately undermining funding and trust now is shockingm" Covenet said in a tweet. "Now is a time for global leadership and unity to save lives, not division and blame!"
3. Bill Gates, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
"Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them," Gates said in a tweet. "The world needs the WHO now more than ever."
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
4. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
"Now is a time for unity in the global battle to push the COVID-19 pandemic into reverse, not a time to cut the resources of the World Health Organization, which is spearheading and coordinating the global body’s efforts," Guterres said in a statement.
5. Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States
"I am distressed by the decision to withhold critically needed US funding for the World Health Organization, especially during an international pandemic," Carter said in a statement.
6. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission
"The US government decision to suspend funding to the WHO is deeply regrettable. Today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global COVID-19 pandemic response," Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a tweet. "Our collective responsibility to ensure [the] WHO can fully carry out its mandate, has never been more urgent."
The USgovt decision to suspend funding to @WHO is deeply regrettable. Today more than ever,the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global #Covid_19 pandemic response.Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate, has never been more urgent— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) April 15, 2020
7. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
"Our position is the UK has no plans to stop funding the WHO which has an important role to play in leading the global health response," the prime minister’s spokesperson said, according to CNN.
8. Karina Gould, Minister of International Development for Canada
"We’re disappointed because now more than ever a coordinated global response based on science and accurate data is essential," Gould told the Globe and Mail. "We are living in an unprecedented and historic situation and the global community must work with multilateral organizations, including the WHO, in order to combat this pandemic."
9. Heiko Maas, Foreign Minister of Germany
"Apportioning blame doesn’t help. The virus knows no borders," Maas said in a tweet. "We have to work closely together against COVID-19. One of the best investments is to strengthen the UN, especially the under-funded WHO, for example for developing and distributing tests and vaccines."
10. Dr. Patrice Harris, President of the American Medical Association
"Cutting funding to the WHO — rather than focusing on solutions — is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world," Harris said, according to NBC News. "The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider."
On April 18, countries around the world will stand together for One World: Together At Home — an international broadcast with Global Citizen and the WHO, in support and celebration of frontline health workers and the global efforts against COVID-19.