Trump and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been exchanging punches since a while now. Trump accused the WHO of being China-centric and that it praised China even when it was opaque in sharing information. WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom responded to Trump’s criticism of the organisation by urging nations to not politicize the issue of the pandemic. Trump had also threatened to stop funding the apex health body.
Trump announced that the US has put on hold funding to WHO for 60-90 days citing the mismanagement of the supranational health organisation body. He said that WHO has “failed to do its basic duty and it must be held accountable for mismanagement”. US – the highest contributor to the WHO – contributed $400-$500 million to the body, nearly 15% of WHO’s 2018-19 budget of $6 billion. But the US is also in $200 million arrears. The US has not disclosed the method to stop funding. While theoretically it cannot stop the funding without the consensus of Congress, it seems Trump has found ways around this constitutional hurdle.
Responding to Trump’s move, the United Nations has said that this is not a time to reduce WHO’s or any other organization’s resources while the pandemic is yet to reach its peak. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that this was a time for the international community to show unity and work in solidarity to stop the virus and mitigate its shattering consequences.
Trump’s insistence on withdrawing funding is not anything new. In 2017, he announced the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Accord (Paris climate change agreement) citing that the accord put the US at a permanent disadvantage. Trump also withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that outlined trade agreement among 12 nations. With Trump implementing his America First policy, are we witnessing the onset of reversal of globalisation?