It came as the United Nations health agency opened its annual meeting, with a draft resolution under development that recognizes the missteps in the response to Covid-19. The comprehensive proposal would seek to boost the response to the pandemic, stabilize funding for the WHO and ensure better access to healthcare – including vaccines, tests and treatment related to the coronavirus.
The European Union and Vanuatu were behind the resolution, which was to be considered during the eight-day meeting. It would establish a working group on strengthening WHO’s preparedness and response to health emergencies.
“We must have institutions up to the task, which meet our ambitions,” Macron said via video during the mostly virtual meeting. WHO, he said, must be “robust” and “flexible” in times of emergency and crisis. “And it has to be completely transparent to make sure people trust the organization.”
“There must be no political pressure and there must be no suspicion of pressure being exerted,” he added.
Merkel supported the idea of a “global council on the threat to health” and said leaders should provide the WHO with “sustainable financial and personal support”.
“We’ve been talking about it for years, but now it’s all the more important to act,” she said.
The resolution – a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press – quotes Covid-19 two dozen times. It innovates little and mainly aims to garner consensus and common goals in the wake of the economic and human devastation caused by the pandemic.
The resolution, which would establish a six-person task force to report to the assembly next year, recognized “serious gaps” in the world’s ability to prepare, prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies.
The text, if approved, would ask WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to make “concrete suggestions” for alert levels in times of health emergencies, “with clear criteria and implications. practices for countries ”.
Diplomats behind the measure said they hoped it could garner consensus among WHO’s 194 member states.
The WHO chief, after giving a round of applause for health workers who have battled the pandemic under often painful conditions, said the world remains in a “very dangerous situation” – and that while he was talking, 400 people would die from Covid-19.
He reiterated his concerns about unequal access to vaccines, saying more than 75 percent of vaccines had been administered in 10 countries. He called for a “massive push” to ensure vaccination of 10% of the population of all countries by the end of September – and at least 30% by the end of the year.
“There is no diplomatic way to say it: a small group of countries that manufacture and buy the majority of vaccines in the world control the fate of the rest of the world,” he said.