WHO Member States Agree To Resolutions On Review Of Agency’s Pandemic Response, Equal Access To COVID-19 Treatments, Vaccines

Devex: Governments strike a deal on COVID-19 review, equal treatment access
“Countries backed equal access to treatment and an independent review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday, as the annual meeting of the World Health Organization ended in broad consensus after weeks of negotiations. States agreed on a non-binding European Union-led resolution recognizing extensive immunization against the virus as a ‘global public good’ and calling for ‘universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products including their components and precursors … as a global priority.’ … The United States voted in favor of the resolution but disassociated itself from some sections, including on equitable access, explaining in a statement that the text took an ‘unbalanced and incomplete approach’ to trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, or TRIPS…” (Chadwick/Ravelo, 5/20).

New York Times: WHO Members Reject Trump’s Demands but Agree to Study Its Virus Response
“President Trump’s angry demands for punitive action against the World Health Organization were rebuffed on Tuesday by the organization’s other member nations, which decided instead to conduct an ‘impartial, independent’ examination of the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. … [R]epresentatives of the organization’s member nations rallied around the WHO at its annual meeting in Geneva, largely ignoring Mr. Trump’s demand for an overhaul and calling for a global show of support in the face of a deadly pandemic. The outcome left the United States isolated as officials from China, Russia, and the European Union chided Mr. Trump over his heated threats even as they acknowledged the need for a review of how the WHO performed as the virus spread from China to the rest of the world…” (Shear/Jacobs, 5/19).

Reuters: WHO will continue to lead global fight against pandemic, Tedros vows
“The World Health Organization will continue to lead the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic which ‘threatens to tear at the fabric of international cooperation,’ its chief said on Tuesday…” (Nebehay/Farge, 5/19).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s World Health Assembly outcomes and tensions between the U.S. and China is available from AP, Foreign Policy, The Hill, NPR (2), POLITICO, Reuters, U.N. News, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post (2).

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