World Health Organization – Q&R from the press briefing (15 Apr. 2020)


Q. U.S. President Donald Trump decided to halt American funding for the World Health Organization. How do you view this decision? What repercussions will it have for the organization?

Q. Donald Trump announced last night that he would freeze U.S. funding for the WHO. President Macron recently said he refused to see the WHO “locked into” a war between China and the U.S.; this represents a further step down that path. What is France’s response? Does France believe the WHO did a good job managing the situation, or is it also expressing certain reservations?

R. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the world’s only universal public health organization. It is crucial to the management of the current crisis, which is itself global. It alone has the capacity to work with all governments to coordinate health responses and the prompt sharing of scientific information. Its work is essential to helping countries with fragile healthcare systems and to avoiding continuous outbreaks and recurrences that could affect the entire world.

In this context, we therefore took note of the announcement of the temporary freeze on the U.S. contribution to the Organization’s budget. We regret it.

Covid-19 is a pandemic that affects every continent and every society. That is why France is working resolutely to promote solidarity and the broadest possible international cooperation. It is doing so within all multilateral institutions, with its major partners and, of course, with all of its EU partners.

We, along with Europe, will be on hand to help the WHO pursue all of its activities and to strengthen the organization.

This crisis also shows that there are things that must be improved and made stronger. The same holds true for the WHO. We must strengthen international health architecture in order to make it more effective and better funded, and equip it with faster warning and response capabilities in the event of epidemics.