INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Diplomatic tussle at WHO
Context: A resolution is being moved at World Health Assembly seeking a probe into the origin of Covid-19 and role of WHO
Did You Know?
- The call for an international investigation was first voiced formally by the Australian prime minister.
- India is set to be elected Chair of the WHO’s decision-making Executive Board at its 73rd World Health Assembly on 18-19 May 2020
What is the resolution all about?
- Besides a scientific investigation into the origins of the virus, the resolution calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive” evaluation into the international response to the corona pandemic
- The resolution does not mention China by name, which is one of the key demands of US.
Critical Analysis of the resolution proposed
- Diluted: The resolution was watered down to get the maximum possible backing at the WHO
- Not powerless: The resolution is said to have enough teeth to dig deep into the issues raised by the corona crisis.
- Overrides China’s opposition: Despite the open threats of trade sanctions from China, Australia has pressed ahead working with the EU to introduce the resolution.
- Accountability: The resolution indicates that international community wants accountability from China and WHO on their handling of pandemic
- Setback for China: A unanimous approval of the resolution will be a diplomatic setback for China, since limiting the demands for an external inquiry has been a major political priority for Beijing.
What must India do at these times?
India must look at the deeper issues that have troubled the WHO
- There is the need to develop new international norms that will increase the powers of the WHO in facilitating early detection & notification of pandemics
- India must help change the funding of WHO -It depends on donations rather than membership fees, as a result, donors will set the agenda
- India must also ask if the WHO is trying to do too many things.
- WHO’s initial successes came when it focused on a few objectives like combatting malaria and the elimination of smallpox.
- A limited agenda will make thus WHO a more effective organisation.
Sustained engagement with China, then, is as important for India as deeper cooperation with the “Quad plus” nations in promoting a new global regime on preventing and managing pandemics.
Connecting the dots:
- WTO in post-COVID world and future of RCEP
- Pandemic Patent Pool