UNITED NATIONS, Nov 09 (APP): The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Monday hailed the election of Joe Biden as the next US president, with the hope that it could signal stronger global cooperation to end the deadly corona virus pandemic.
“We need to reimagine leadership, built on mutual trust and mutual accountability-to end the pandemic and address the fundamental inequalities that lie at the root of so many of the world’s problems,” he said in a 40-minute speech at the opening day of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
Tedros hopes to see a reversal of the May 30 announcement by President Donald Trump that the US is ending its relationship with the WHO.
Biden had said during his election campaign, he would reverse the decision made by Trump when he tweeted on July 8, “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the @WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”
The assembly, which will conclude on Nov. 14, is being held due to the COVID-19 pandemic and follows the reduced meeting of May 18-19.
It was vital, he said, for people to follow the science and resist the urge to turn a blind eye to the virus.
“We might be tired of COVID-19. But it is not tired of us,” WHO chief said.
Tedros, speaking from quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, warned that the virus preys on weakness.
He said the world had achieved a “great convergence” in 2015 when governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on finance for development.
“Since then, the creeping tides of misguided nationalism and isolationism have eroded that sense of common purpose.
The Paris Agreement has been undermined; the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda have gone largely unfulfilled; and although there has been progress toward the SDGs, too often our efforts have remained siloed and splintered”, he said.
The pandemic had set the SDGs back even further while also providing evidence of their importance, he added.
“However, we must be honest: we can only realize the full power and potential of the SDGs if the international community urgently recaptures the sense of common purpose that gave birth to them.
In that spirit, we congratulate President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and we look forward to working with their administration very closely.”
Tedros said it was time for a new era of cooperation, with emphasis on health and well-being globally.
“It’s time for the world to heal – from the ravages of this pandemic, and the geopolitical divisions that only drive us further into the chasm of an unhealthier, un-safer and unfairer future”, he said.
“The world has reached a fork in the road. We cannot afford to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the same rate and still breathe clean air. We must choose.
“We cannot afford ever-deepening inequalities and expect continued peace and prosperity. We must choose.
And we cannot afford to see health merely as a by-product of development, or a commodity that only the rich can afford”, he said.?
“Today and every day, we must choose health. We’re one big family.”