After U.S. President Donald Trump’s Friday announcement that Washington was ending its relationship with the World Health Organisation, Belgium on Saturday reiterated its support for the WHO.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, “we consider it more important than ever to provide the best possible support to the organisation,” the Belgian authorities said in a press release issued jointly by Deputy Prime Minister and Development Cooperation Minister Alexander De Croo, Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Goffin and Health Minister Maggie De Block.
“The WHO plays a crucial role in coordinating the international response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” they stressed. “The organisation tries to prevent the spread of the virus, among other things by distributing medical material, deploying rapid response teams and advising and informing the general public.”
It “works with a science-based approach, using the recommendations of bodies consisting of specialists from all over the world,” and also “contributes to the search for adequate treatment and vaccination,” the Belgian authorities added.
It is only after the coronavirus crisis is resolved that an objective and informed evaluation can be made, after which it would be opportune to propose improvements to the approaches of the WHO and its member States in future, they argued.
They stressed that Belgium would continue to support the WHO’s efforts and that, along with its European Union partners, it would examine how it can continue to support them.
“We have granted a supplementary contribution of €2 million and are studying the possibility of a second supplementary contribution of €2 million,” they announced. “Our country has also granted the CEPI €5 million towards developing a vaccine.”
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is an international alliance of public and private partners that aims to speed up the development of a vaccine against Covid-19.