Governance

Trump starts withdrawing US from WHO

Withdrawal process to take at least a year, will be effective from July 6, 2021

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 08 July 2020
The WHO has often come under Donald Trump’s line of fire over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley / Coast Guard

United States President Donald Trump formally began the withdrawal of the country from the World Health Organization (WHO) July 7, 2020, according to the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC).

He had earlier threatened to pull US funding allocated to the WHO and redirect them elsewhere, despite calls from several quarters, including the European Union, urging him to not do so. The US is the United Nation’s single-largest contributor.

The country allocated $400 million in 2019 for the health body, around 15 per cent of its total budget.

Trump notified the UN and the US Congress of his intentions. The withdrawal process, however, can take at least a year, said the BBC report. The US’ withdrawal will be effective from July 6, 2021, confirmed Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, according to the report.

In addition to giving a year’s notice, the US must pay its outstanding fees under a 1948 Congress resolution. Trump’s stand on this, however, has been unclear.

The move comes as the US is headed towards elections in November, with Joe Biden, the Democratic party’s presidential candidate and Trump’s rival, declaring that he would rejoin the WHO, if he is elected. “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage,” Biden said in a July 8 tweet.

The president had earlier accused the WHO of acting under China’s influence amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The UN health body has often come under Trump’s line of fire over its handling of the pandemic.

Trump had warned the WHO in April of undertaking “substantive improvements” within 30 days if it wanted the US to continue funding it, said the report. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC in May.

The president also accused China of pressuring the WHO to “mislead the world” about COVID-19 without citing evidence for this, the BBC reported.

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