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International organizations should be supported in fight against COVID-19

2020-04-13
“China supports WHO in leading the global efforts to develop science-based and proper control and treatment and minimize cross-border spread.” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 on March 26 revealed China’s active support for international organizations.

Such gesture showed China’s sense of responsibility of a major country at this critical moment, empowering the world in fighting against the pandemic.

China also called on G20 members to enhance anti-pandemic information sharing with the support of WHO and to promote control and treatment protocols that are comprehensive, systematic and effective. The G20 platform for communication and coordination shall be used to increase policy dialogue and exchange, and high-level meetings on international public health security shall be convened in due course.

These detailed suggestions on multilateral cooperation raised by China at the summit showcased the country’s readiness to enhance international coordination to cope with the current crisis.

Mankind is a community with a shared future. Therefore, the lives and health of people of all countries can only be fully protected when mankind defeats the virus as a whole.

International coordination must be in place for the world to respond timely to any sudden outbreak of public health incidence. And in this process, international organizations’ role cannot be overemphasized.

As a specialized organization for health affairs within the United Nations (UN) system, WHO shoulders significant responsibilities in early testing and warning, coordinating prevention and control strategies, sharing treatment and organizing international assistance of infectious diseases, and plays a vital role in building a global public health emergency response mechanism featuring risk sharing and common security.

Currently, WHO is making all-out efforts to mobilize the international community to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and giving full play to its leadership together with relevant international and regional organizations by launching multiple laboratories, and accelerating the pace in building a global testing network. Besides, it is also mobilizing international forces to speed up scientific research and innovation, setting up the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund with the UN Foundation and other relevant partners and has released guidelines on basic health services.

To actively participate in global health governance and contribute to the cause of global public health is a responsibility that conforms to the common interests of the mankind. The consensus of the G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 embodies the expectation of the world.

The G20 is committed to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic, along with WHO and other international organizations, working within their existing mandates. The G20 fully supports and commits to further strengthening the WHO’s mandate in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic. G20 members will quickly work together and with stakeholders to close the financing gap in the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. And they will further commit to provide immediate resources to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation.

What matters the most is that the G20 has vowed to deliver on the promises with tangible efforts.

China has always advocated and implemented multilateralism as well as supported international organizations’ roles in global health governance. Since the onset of the COVID-19, the country has been working closely the WHO.

"The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are very impressive, and beyond words,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO.

China has always been a staunch supporter of the WHO, offering convenience to the organization’s field visit to the epicenter Wuhan, and the China-WHO Joint Mission on COVID-19. It also shared experiences with and provided material assistance for the WHO.

In addition, China has decided to donate $20 million to WHO to support its international efforts in combating COVID-19, a gesture hailed as “a reflection of the global solidarity” by Tedros.

However, it is alarming that some ill-intended people stigmatized the WHO at the critical moment when the joint efforts to combat the disease are badly in need, regardless of other people’s lives and security. Such practice is just as dangerous as the virus itself.

Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs London School of Economics and Political Science of the UK, noted in his analysis that “the WHO has withstood heavy criticism lately, as it has during past epidemics, but much of this faultfinding is misdirected, ill-informed, and counterproductive.” “To succeed, G20 governments will need to listen to and work with international organisations – beginning with the WHO,” and “The WHO remains the only institution that can provide global health leadership and inspire the trust needed to intervene.”

Lancet underlined that WHO’s core role in coordinating efforts of the whole world must continue in an editorial. 

To combat the COVID-19 that is sweeping through the world calls for great synergy. “Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling for a much stronger and more effective global response to the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed that this will only be possible “if everybody comes together and if we forget political games.”

The crisis not only poses a challenge for the UN, but also the international community. For this reason, only by solidarity and cooperation can human beings have the power to prevail over it and secure their lives.