Dear Secretary of State,
I write on behalf of members of the UNA-UK who have been saddened and many shocked at the cutting by the US of its contributions to the World Health Organization at this time of unprecedented global health emergency.
A large number of our members have worked for many years for the UN, including many with the WHO. We have therefore no starry-eyed view that the WHO is perfect or never has any failings. But the WHO remains the only international body responsible for health worldwide and therefore the only body with the mandate to give guidance, leadership and encouragement for action to all countries in how best to respond to Covid-19. To lose some 22% of its funding in the midst of these efforts is tragic – and can only weaken the WHO when it needs to be strong.
DFID still has an important standing among donors and each year UK-AID is one of the largest contributions among any donor’s. WHO employs many UK citizens, including Dr Nabarro, one of the most senior advisers on health and in the front-line of dealing with Covid-19 issues. It would be wonderful if under your leadership the UK would rapidly make an additional international contribution to WHO, linked directly to their efforts to tackle the virus.
It would be even better if DFID would also use its position of influence and leadership to encourage other donors, especially those in Europe, to make additional contributions, too, to WHO at this time when it is hard-pressed for resources.
For the UK to take these actions would also be a wonderful example of our country being concerned with action beyond our borders.
With encouragement for your efforts at these challenging times,
Chair, United Nations Association, London and South East Region
27 River Court
London SE1 9PE