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特朗普为什么威胁要断供世界卫生组织?

特朗普为什么威胁要断供世界卫生组织?

Nicole Goodkind 2020年05月21日
目前尚不清楚特朗普是打算取消自愿捐款,还是计划完全退出世界卫生大会。

世界卫生组织是一个风平浪静时容易被忽略、时局艰难时常常被提起的机构。

近来,美国总统唐纳德·特朗普威胁要永久停止对世卫组织的资助,称这笔钱花得毫无用处。他说得对吗?抑或他只是在寻找替罪羊?这个庞大的组织又是怎么产生的呢?

世卫组织负责指导并帮助全球应对重大和潜在的流行疾病,比如寨卡、埃博拉、SARS、禽流感和猪流感等。以下列出了所有你需要了解的世卫组织相关信息。

世卫组织是做什么的?

世卫组织的发展史与第二次世界大战后团结全球、维护国际安全与和平的行动密切相关。1945年联合国成立前后,有人提议出资建立一套制度,协调处理疟疾、结核病和妇女儿童福利等全球卫生事务。1948年,联合国成立了世卫组织。

如今,世卫组织仍在联合国旗下运转。它共有194个成员国,在全球各地设有150个办事处,每年经费预算达48.4亿美元。

这些成员国共同组成的世界卫生大会是世卫组织的最高权力机构,负责制定政策、监督管理预算。世卫组织总干事也由世界卫生大会选举产生,任期五年,现任总干事为前埃塞俄比亚卫生部部长谭德塞。

世卫组织的运转以自愿为基础,各国没有义务允许世卫组织参与本国事务,也没有义务遵守世卫组织的指导,但是成员国往往会与世卫组织合作。

谁在为世卫组织提供资金?

截至目前,美国是世卫组织最大的资金捐助国。在2018至2019两年的预算周期中,美国共向世卫组织提供了8.93亿美元。不过眼下,特朗普总统威胁要停止注资,我们后文会详细聊到此事。

成员国中资助金额排名第二的是英国,该国承诺提供4.3亿美元。中国承诺提供的资金为7500多万美元。

世卫组织有两种筹措资金的方式:一是“会费分摊”,即由成员国缴纳会费;二是自愿捐款,这是世卫组织资金的主要来源。2018至2019年,美国承诺分摊2.37亿美元会费,并提供6.56亿美元自愿捐款。

世卫组织的第二大资助方为比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会。2018至2019年,比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会向世卫组织提供了5.31亿美元自愿捐款。另外,世卫组织的许多资金来自“扶轮国际”和美国国家慈善信托基金会等慈善组织,前者捐助了1.43亿美元,后者承诺捐助1.08亿美元。

早先世卫组织的大部分资金来自会费,但近些年已经转为了自愿捐款。2018至2019年会费总计9.569亿美元,仅占世卫组织收到的资金总额的17%。与此同时,自愿捐款增长至44.9亿美元,占到了资金总额的80%;“其他资金收入”为1.781亿美元。

目前,世卫组织已经要求成员国另外募捐7亿美元,用以应对新冠危机。并且据预计,世卫组织不久后还会提高资金募集数额。

世卫组织在解决过去的危机时发挥了什么作用?

成立以来,世卫组织在与各国合作根除传染病上发挥了重要作用。然而,世卫组织取得成功的进展很缓慢。

在20世纪50年代末,世卫组织携手俄罗斯开展了一项消灭天花的运动。但到1980年,(天花才被完全根除,)人们不再有必要接种天花疫苗。20世纪70年代,世卫组织开始在全球各地推广计划生育和安全性行为,鼓励为儿童接种可预防疾病的疫苗,并制定了为所有儿童接种白喉、百日咳、破伤风、麻疹、脊髓灰质炎和结核病疫苗的崇高目标。大约四十年后的今天,世卫组织仍然在努力实现这一远大目标。不过目前,他们已经取得了一些进展:2018年的数据显示,有1.16亿儿童完成了疫苗接种,相较2000年增加了30%。

1980年代,世卫组织开始投入精力预防孕产妇死亡。虽然未能达成最初设立的目标,但现在世卫组织希望在2030年可以将全球孕产妇死亡率降低到70/10万活产婴儿以下。此外,世卫组织还在着手根除小儿麻痹症,这一目标目前也尚未达成。

近来,世卫组织重点关注了艾滋病毒/艾滋病危机,尤其是在非洲。他们建立了检测诊所,提供补贴和治疗,并投入了数百万美元开展宣传活动,敦促人们关注艾滋的传播方式。

“世卫组织在世界各地开展的工作是其他任何人都做不到的。”Protect Our Care的主席莱斯利·达赫说,“他们向疫情发生地提供医生和公共卫生资源,并加强了各国自身公共卫生系统的能力。从许多层面来看,他们是我们所有人都依赖着的全球危机应对组织。”奥巴马执政期间,达赫曾经在美国卫生和公众服务部担任全球埃博拉协调员。

达赫表示,世卫组织着力全局而非局部的做法意味着,他们往往会在成功时被忽略,而在失败时备受指责。但2014年,正是这种做法促使了埃博拉疫苗的迅速普及,从而缓解了原本可能爆发的埃博拉疫情。

达赫指出:“世卫组织在埃博拉防治问题上做出了巨大的贡献,尤其是在加快疫苗研发和最终分配两方面。”世卫组织完善的本地化基础设施正是其能够“发挥独特重要作用”的关键所在。

“如果说我们能够从这次新冠大流行中学到什么的话,那就是这些疾病对整个世界构成了巨大的威胁,我们所能采取的最佳措施就是从源头上遏制它们。”达赫解释道,“没有人说世卫组织是完美无瑕的,但它确实发挥了重要作用。”

世卫组织如何阻止新冠疫情蔓延?

所有会员国都必须向世卫组织报告一切来源不明且有可能造成国际传播的疫情。2019年12月31日,中国宣布湖北省武汉市爆发新冠疫情。2020年1月4日,世卫组织警示了事故管理支援小组,并在推特上发布了事件相关信息。1月10日,世卫组织已经制定并发布了有关如何阻止新冠传播的指导方针,并警告称这一疾病与SARS和中东呼吸综合征类似。

1月底,世卫组织将新冠列为国际公共卫生紧急事件。随后,世卫组织向所有成员国收集重要资料,并根据在这些资料中的发现发表了许多内容。世卫组织已经就如何重新开放、何时佩戴口罩以及检测方案提出了建议,还为卫生工作者提供了在线培训。

特朗普为什么威胁要断供世卫组织?

4月中旬,特朗普总统宣称已经受够了世卫组织的指导方针,将无限期冻结对世卫组织的资金支持,等待政府的进一步审查。他指责世卫组织没有在疫情在中国出现时及时展开调查,令美国面对疫情措手不及。

特朗普的批评者表示,总统此举是在转移视线、甩脱指责。疫情爆发以来,美国已有超过8.5万死亡病例被证实与新冠直接相关。

民主党表示,总统是在“寻找替罪羊”。

“现在,白宫及其盟友正在通力合作,试图为总统在病毒爆发早期阶段犯下的致命错误寻找替罪羊。”参议员克里斯·墨菲说。

断供世卫组织还面临着法律障碍。民主党国会议员表示,此举是违法的,特朗普无权停止支付会费。但特朗普仍然得到了共和党国会议员的支持,任何针对他的严厉措施都有可能在共和党主导的参议院折戟。

美国众议院拨款委员会的发言人埃文·霍兰德表示:“特朗普总统是在违反导致他此前被弹劾的支出法律。”在此前的弹劾案中,美国政府问责局曾指出,总统拖延国会批准拨给乌克兰的资金违反了相关法律。

中日等国已经表示将增加捐款,但他们不太可能填补美国留下的巨大资金缺口。达赫认为,这一决定可能会使美国在减缓新冠传播方面处于不利地位。

“如果你希望世卫组织尽可能发挥作用,那你就会希望坐到谈判桌上和他们交谈。”他说,“在埃博拉疫情期间,由于我们做出的贡献,我们的观点很重要,我们有能力发声改变世卫组织行为,这也有利于美国。(我们可以让)他们更明智地花钱,(让)他们用我们认为最重要的方式花在我们认为最重要的地方。现在呢,我们居然要离开谈判桌了。”

目前尚不清楚特朗普是打算取消自愿捐款,还是计划完全退出世界卫生大会。前者意味着美国将保留其作为管理机构的身份,后者则意味着美国未来在世卫组织不再拥有任何发言权,也不再有义务向世卫组织报告任何信息或健康卫生统计数据。

即使世卫组织最大的拥趸也承认,世卫组织并不完美。但他们表示,如果没有世卫组织的帮助,情况只会变得更加糟糕。

1000多名医疗专家、企业和慈善机构近来联名上书特朗普,敦促他继续向世卫组织提供资金。信中写道:“在这样一场前所未有、极其复杂的公共卫生危机中,我们肯定会面临挑战。”

“世卫组织已经表示,在携手国际社会扭转新冠疫情后,他们迫切希望评估错误发生在哪里,探讨未来如何更好地加强世卫组织和全球应对所有国家公共卫生事件的能力。”信中还写道,“毫无疑问……世卫组织的努力对于拉平曲线、减缓病毒传播,并最终拯救美国和全世界人民生命安全至关重要。”

美国凯泽家庭基金会近来的一项分析研究发现,世卫组织面临的许多挑战根本原因在于组织的责任范围不断扩大,但预算却停滞不前,而且主要依赖于通常有指定用途的自愿捐款。报告发现,世卫组织还必须努力发挥双重职责,既要作为“具有专业卫生知识的技术机构”,又要作为“政治机构,协调各国就有时引起分歧的健康卫生问题进行辩论和谈判”。这些情况再加上庞大、分散的官僚架构,最终导致世卫组织常常行动缓慢、优柔寡断。

不过,达赫表示:“此次危机过后,我们该着手让世卫组织变得更好。把麻烦事扔进海里,然后忘掉不去管它,这可不是个好主意。”(188金宝搏 下载)

译者:钱功毅

世界卫生组织是一个风平浪静时容易被忽略、时局艰难时常常被提起的机构。

近来,美国总统唐纳德·特朗普威胁要永久停止对世卫组织的资助,称这笔钱花得毫无用处。他说得对吗?抑或他只是在寻找替罪羊?这个庞大的组织又是怎么产生的呢?

世卫组织负责指导并帮助全球应对重大和潜在的流行疾病,比如寨卡、埃博拉、SARS、禽流感和猪流感等。以下列出了所有你需要了解的世卫组织相关信息。

世卫组织是做什么的?

世卫组织的发展史与第二次世界大战后团结全球、维护国际安全与和平的行动密切相关。1945年联合国成立前后,有人提议出资建立一套制度,协调处理疟疾、结核病和妇女儿童福利等全球卫生事务。1948年,联合国成立了世卫组织。

如今,世卫组织仍在联合国旗下运转。它共有194个成员国,在全球各地设有150个办事处,每年经费预算达48.4亿美元。

这些成员国共同组成的世界卫生大会是世卫组织的最高权力机构,负责制定政策、监督管理预算。世卫组织总干事也由世界卫生大会选举产生,任期五年,现任总干事为前埃塞俄比亚卫生部部长谭德塞。

世卫组织的运转以自愿为基础,各国没有义务允许世卫组织参与本国事务,也没有义务遵守世卫组织的指导,但是成员国往往会与世卫组织合作。

谁在为世卫组织提供资金?

截至目前,美国是世卫组织最大的资金捐助国。在2018至2019两年的预算周期中,美国共向世卫组织提供了8.93亿美元。不过眼下,特朗普总统威胁要停止注资,我们后文会详细聊到此事。

成员国中资助金额排名第二的是英国,该国承诺提供4.3亿美元。中国承诺提供的资金为7500多万美元。

世卫组织有两种筹措资金的方式:一是“会费分摊”,即由成员国缴纳会费;二是自愿捐款,这是世卫组织资金的主要来源。2018至2019年,美国承诺分摊2.37亿美元会费,并提供6.56亿美元自愿捐款。

世卫组织的第二大资助方为比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会。2018至2019年,比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会向世卫组织提供了5.31亿美元自愿捐款。另外,世卫组织的许多资金来自“扶轮国际”和美国国家慈善信托基金会等慈善组织,前者捐助了1.43亿美元,后者承诺捐助1.08亿美元。

早先世卫组织的大部分资金来自会费,但近些年已经转为了自愿捐款。2018至2019年会费总计9.569亿美元,仅占世卫组织收到的资金总额的17%。与此同时,自愿捐款增长至44.9亿美元,占到了资金总额的80%;“其他资金收入”为1.781亿美元。

目前,世卫组织已经要求成员国另外募捐7亿美元,用以应对新冠危机。并且据预计,世卫组织不久后还会提高资金募集数额。

世卫组织在解决过去的危机时发挥了什么作用?

成立以来,世卫组织在与各国合作根除传染病上发挥了重要作用。然而,世卫组织取得成功的进展很缓慢。

在20世纪50年代末,世卫组织携手俄罗斯开展了一项消灭天花的运动。但到1980年,(天花才被完全根除,)人们不再有必要接种天花疫苗。20世纪70年代,世卫组织开始在全球各地推广计划生育和安全性行为,鼓励为儿童接种可预防疾病的疫苗,并制定了为所有儿童接种白喉、百日咳、破伤风、麻疹、脊髓灰质炎和结核病疫苗的崇高目标。大约四十年后的今天,世卫组织仍然在努力实现这一远大目标。不过目前,他们已经取得了一些进展:2018年的数据显示,有1.16亿儿童完成了疫苗接种,相较2000年增加了30%。

1980年代,世卫组织开始投入精力预防孕产妇死亡。虽然未能达成最初设立的目标,但现在世卫组织希望在2030年可以将全球孕产妇死亡率降低到70/10万活产婴儿以下。此外,世卫组织还在着手根除小儿麻痹症,这一目标目前也尚未达成。

近来,世卫组织重点关注了艾滋病毒/艾滋病危机,尤其是在非洲。他们建立了检测诊所,提供补贴和治疗,并投入了数百万美元开展宣传活动,敦促人们关注艾滋的传播方式。

“世卫组织在世界各地开展的工作是其他任何人都做不到的。”Protect Our Care的主席莱斯利·达赫说,“他们向疫情发生地提供医生和公共卫生资源,并加强了各国自身公共卫生系统的能力。从许多层面来看,他们是我们所有人都依赖着的全球危机应对组织。”奥巴马执政期间,达赫曾经在美国卫生和公众服务部担任全球埃博拉协调员。

达赫表示,世卫组织着力全局而非局部的做法意味着,他们往往会在成功时被忽略,而在失败时备受指责。但2014年,正是这种做法促使了埃博拉疫苗的迅速普及,从而缓解了原本可能爆发的埃博拉疫情。

达赫指出:“世卫组织在埃博拉防治问题上做出了巨大的贡献,尤其是在加快疫苗研发和最终分配两方面。”世卫组织完善的本地化基础设施正是其能够“发挥独特重要作用”的关键所在。

“如果说我们能够从这次新冠大流行中学到什么的话,那就是这些疾病对整个世界构成了巨大的威胁,我们所能采取的最佳措施就是从源头上遏制它们。”达赫解释道,“没有人说世卫组织是完美无瑕的,但它确实发挥了重要作用。”

世卫组织如何阻止新冠疫情蔓延?

所有会员国都必须向世卫组织报告一切来源不明且有可能造成国际传播的疫情。2019年12月31日,中国宣布湖北省武汉市爆发新冠疫情。2020年1月4日,世卫组织警示了事故管理支援小组,并在推特上发布了事件相关信息。1月10日,世卫组织已经制定并发布了有关如何阻止新冠传播的指导方针,并警告称这一疾病与SARS和中东呼吸综合征类似。

1月底,世卫组织将新冠列为国际公共卫生紧急事件。随后,世卫组织向所有成员国收集重要资料,并根据在这些资料中的发现发表了许多内容。世卫组织已经就如何重新开放、何时佩戴口罩以及检测方案提出了建议,还为卫生工作者提供了在线培训。

特朗普为什么威胁要断供世卫组织?

4月中旬,特朗普总统宣称已经受够了世卫组织的指导方针,将无限期冻结对世卫组织的资金支持,等待政府的进一步审查。他指责世卫组织没有在疫情在中国出现时及时展开调查,令美国面对疫情措手不及。

特朗普的批评者表示,总统此举是在转移视线、甩脱指责。疫情爆发以来,美国已有超过8.5万死亡病例被证实与新冠直接相关。

民主党表示,总统是在“寻找替罪羊”。

“现在,白宫及其盟友正在通力合作,试图为总统在病毒爆发早期阶段犯下的致命错误寻找替罪羊。”参议员克里斯·墨菲说。

断供世卫组织还面临着法律障碍。民主党国会议员表示,此举是违法的,特朗普无权停止支付会费。但特朗普仍然得到了共和党国会议员的支持,任何针对他的严厉措施都有可能在共和党主导的参议院折戟。

美国众议院拨款委员会的发言人埃文·霍兰德表示:“特朗普总统是在违反导致他此前被弹劾的支出法律。”在此前的弹劾案中,美国政府问责局曾指出,总统拖延国会批准拨给乌克兰的资金违反了相关法律。

中日等国已经表示将增加捐款,但他们不太可能填补美国留下的巨大资金缺口。达赫认为,这一决定可能会使美国在减缓新冠传播方面处于不利地位。

“如果你希望世卫组织尽可能发挥作用,那你就会希望坐到谈判桌上和他们交谈。”他说,“在埃博拉疫情期间,由于我们做出的贡献,我们的观点很重要,我们有能力发声改变世卫组织行为,这也有利于美国。(我们可以让)他们更明智地花钱,(让)他们用我们认为最重要的方式花在我们认为最重要的地方。现在呢,我们居然要离开谈判桌了。”

目前尚不清楚特朗普是打算取消自愿捐款,还是计划完全退出世界卫生大会。前者意味着美国将保留其作为管理机构的身份,后者则意味着美国未来在世卫组织不再拥有任何发言权,也不再有义务向世卫组织报告任何信息或健康卫生统计数据。

即使世卫组织最大的拥趸也承认,世卫组织并不完美。但他们表示,如果没有世卫组织的帮助,情况只会变得更加糟糕。

1000多名医疗专家、企业和慈善机构近来联名上书特朗普,敦促他继续向世卫组织提供资金。信中写道:“在这样一场前所未有、极其复杂的公共卫生危机中,我们肯定会面临挑战。”

“世卫组织已经表示,在携手国际社会扭转新冠疫情后,他们迫切希望评估错误发生在哪里,探讨未来如何更好地加强世卫组织和全球应对所有国家公共卫生事件的能力。”信中还写道,“毫无疑问……世卫组织的努力对于拉平曲线、减缓病毒传播,并最终拯救美国和全世界人民生命安全至关重要。”

美国凯泽家庭基金会近来的一项分析研究发现,世卫组织面临的许多挑战根本原因在于组织的责任范围不断扩大,但预算却停滞不前,而且主要依赖于通常有指定用途的自愿捐款。报告发现,世卫组织还必须努力发挥双重职责,既要作为“具有专业卫生知识的技术机构”,又要作为“政治机构,协调各国就有时引起分歧的健康卫生问题进行辩论和谈判”。这些情况再加上庞大、分散的官僚架构,最终导致世卫组织常常行动缓慢、优柔寡断。

不过,达赫表示:“此次危机过后,我们该着手让世卫组织变得更好。把麻烦事扔进海里,然后忘掉不去管它,这可不是个好主意。”(188金宝搏 下载)

译者:钱功毅

The World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency that tends to be ignored during good times and talked about incessantly during bad times, and what we’re seeing during the current COVID-19 crisis certainly fits that bill.

President Donald Trump recently threatened to defund the agency permanently, essentially calling it useless. But is he correct or just scapegoating? And how did this huge organization even originate?

Below is everything you need to know about the agency that issues guidance and help for disastrous pandemics and potential pandemics like Zika, Ebola, SARS, bird flu, swine flu, and others.

What does the WHO do?

The history of the WHO goes hand in hand with the post–World War II move to unite the globe and maintain security and peace internationally. Around the time the United Nations (UN) was founded, in 1945, the idea of funding a system to coordinate global health affairs like malaria, tuberculosis, and women and children’s well-being was proposed. By 1948, the UN had created the WHO, with the principal thought that health care is a human right—an issue still being debated across political stages in the United States.

Today, the WHO, still operating under the larger umbrella of the UN, has 194 member countries, 150 offices around the world, and a biannual budget of $4.84 billion.

Together these member states form the World Health Assembly, which is the guiding body of the organization. They set policy and supervise the budget. They also elect a director-general to a five-year term. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former minister of health in Ethiopia, is currently in charge of the program.

The WHO operates on a voluntary level, and countries are under no obligation to allow the organization in or to follow its guidance, but member states tend to cooperate.

Okay, so who funds it?

The United States is currently by far the largest supplier of WHO funding. The U.S. contributed about $893 million during the two-year budget cycle spanning 2018 to 2019. The President has threatened to end that, but more on that later.

The next largest member-contributor is the United Kingdom, which pledged about $430 million. China pledged just over $75 million.

But there are two ways the WHO collects money: One is through “assessed contributions,” which are the dues member countries pay, and the other is through voluntary contributions, which is the major driver of funds. From 2018 through 2019, the United States pledged $237 million in assessed contributions and $656 million in voluntary contributions.

The second-largest funder of the WHO is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which granted the organization $531 million in voluntary payments over that same period. Much of the WHO’s funds come from charity organizations like Rotary International, which donated $143 million, and the National Philanthropic Trust, which pledged $108 million.

In its earlier years, most of the WHO’s funding came from assessed contributions, but as of late that has shifted to voluntary cash infusions. From 2018 through 2019, assessed contributions totaled $956.9 million—just 17% of revenue. Voluntary contributions, meanwhile, added up to $4.49 billion or 80% of revenue. “Other revenue” provided an additional $178.1 million.

The WHO has requested another $700 million from donors to help with the COVID-19 crisis and is expected to increase that ask shortly.

What role has the WHO played in solving past crises?

Since its founding, the WHO has played a critical role in partnering with countries to eradicate infectious ailments. Its successes, however, have come slowly.

In the late 1950s, the organization began a campaign with Russia to end smallpox, but by 1980, the vaccination for the illness was deemed no longer necessary. In the 1970s, the WHO moved to promote family planning and safe sex, as well as vaccinating children from preventable illnesses around the world. The organization set a goal of vaccinating all children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, poliomyelitis, and tuberculosis. The goal was very lofty, and so, some 40 years later, the WHO is still working on achieving it, but some progress is being made. According to 2018 data, the most recent available, 116 million children have completed vaccinations, up 30% since 2000.

In the 1980s the organization set its sights on preventing maternal mortality, and while it missed its initial goalposts, it now hopes to reduce the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100,000 births by 2030. Additionally, the WHO began its goal of eradicating polio, also yet to be achieved.

More recently, the WHO has focused largely on the HIV/AIDS crisis, particularly in Africa. They have established testing clinics, subsidized and provided treatments, and poured millions into awareness campaigns that focus on how the disease is spread.

“They do work around the world that no one else will do,” explains Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach, who served as the global Ebola coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration. “They put doctors and public health resources on the ground and also strengthen the ability of countries’ own public health systems. They are in many ways the global response organization that we all rely on.”

Dach says that while the organization’s “forest for the trees” viewpoint means that it tends to get ignored for successes and blamed for failures, it was essential in procuring a quick vaccine that tempered what could have become an Ebola pandemic in 2014.

“On Ebola, they made significant contributions, particularly on speeding up the development of a vaccine and its ultimate deployment,” he notes. It’s the well-established localized infrastructure of the WHO that enables it to “perform a unique and critical role.”

“If we’ve learned anything from this car crash [the COVID-19 pandemic] it’s that these diseases pose a huge threat across the entire world, and the best thing we can do is contain them where they start,” Dach explains. “No one is saying that the organization is perfect, but it does an essential job.”

How is the WHO working to stop the spread of COVID-19?

All member countries are required to report any disease outbreaks of unknown origin that seem as if they may spread internationally. On Dec. 31, 2019, China declared an outbreak of what it called pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei province. The organization alerted its incident management support team and tweeted about the incidences on Jan. 4, 2020. By Jan. 10, the WHO had set up and posted guidelines on how to stop the spread of the disease, warning that it was similar to SARS and MERS. .

By the end of January, the WHO had labeled the disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since then, the organization has gathered vital information from all member countries and has published much on what it has found in that data. The agency has issued recommendations on how to reopen, when to wear masks, and testing protocol. It has also provided online training for health care workers.

Why is President Donald Trump threatening to defund the WHO?

In mid-April President Trump declared that he’d had enough of the WHO’s guidelines and would freeze its funding indefinitely, pending further review from his administration. He blamed the WHO for not investigating the disease quickly enough when it originated in China, leaving the U.S. unprepared.

Critics of Trump say the President’s actions were intended to deflect any blame. There have since been more than 85,000 confirmed deaths directly related to COVID-19 in the United States.

Democrats called the President out for “scapegoating.”

“Right now, there is a very coordinated effort amongst the White House and their allies to try to find scapegoats for the fatal mistakes that the President made during the early stages of this virus,” said Sen. Chris Murphy. “It is just wildly ironic that the President and his allies are now criticizing China or the WHO for being soft on China when it was in fact the President who was the chief apologist for China during the early stages of this crisis.”

Legal roadblocks also lie ahead. Democrats in Congress called the move illegal, saying that Trump couldn’t stop the payment of that assessed contribution. The President, however, still has the support of congressional Republicans, and any serious action taken against him would likely be blocked in the Republican-led Senate.

“President Trump is violating the same spending laws that brought about his impeachment,” said Evan Hollander, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee. During the impeachment fight, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that the President was in violation of the law by delaying funding that Congress had approved to go to Ukraine.

Countries like China and Japan have said they will step up their donations, but it is unlikely that they would be able to fill a void as large as the one left by U.S. funding. Still, Dach says, this decision could leave the U.S. at a disadvantage in slowing COVID-19’s spread.

“If you want WHO to do the most effective job it can, you want to be at the table, you want to be able to have a conversation with them,” he says. “During Ebola, because of our contribution, our opinions mattered, and it was to America’s benefit to be able to have its voice change the behavior of WHO. They spent their money more wisely, and they spent it in places and ways we thought were the most important. Now we’re just taking that off the table.”

It’s unclear if the President intends to pull voluntary funding or to leave the World Health Assembly altogether. The former would mean that the U.S. would retain its role as a governing body, but the latter would mean the country no longer had any say in the future of the organization. It would also no longer be obligated to report any information or health statistics to the group.

Even the WHO’s biggest advocates admit that the organization isn’t perfect, but they say that things would be much worse without its help.

“During an unprecedented and hugely complex public health crisis like this, there are bound to be challenges,” wrote over 1,000 health care experts, companies, and charities in a recent letter to President Trump, urging him to continue with funding.

“After WHO and the global community turn the tide against COVID-19, WHO has signaled an eagerness to assess where mistakes occurred and how best to strengthen the institution and global public health response capacities of all countries in the future,” they continued. But, they added, “it is without question…that WHO efforts have been vital to flattening the curve, slowing the virus’s spread, and ultimately saving lives in the U.S. and around the world.”

A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many of the organization’s challenges stem from its growing scope of responsibility coupled with a stagnant budget that largely relies on voluntary donations often earmarked for specific issues. The WHO must also grapple with the dual mandate of being both a “technical agency with health expertise and a political body where states debate and negotiate on sometimes divisive health issues,” the report found. That, along with a large, decentralized, and bureaucratic structure, often leads to slow, indecisive actions by the agency.

Still, says Dach, “the time to work to make them better is after the crisis. It’s not a good idea to drop the thing into the ocean and forget about it.”

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