Let Taiwan help the WHO fight Covid-19 | Letter

We urge all WHO members to support Taiwan’s access to the World Health Assembly as an observer, as was the case between 2009 and 2016, write Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Carl Bildt and Bertel Haarder

The World Health Assembly convenes next week at a turning point for global health. The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of robust multilateral coordination of our efforts – from medical and technological research to the supply of life-saving protective equipment.

While countries have pursued their own measures in the face of Covid-19, we have also learned important lessons from each other.

In particular, Taiwan’s response to this pandemic is widely considered to have been pioneering, drawing on important lessons from the Sars outbreak in 2003. It is regretful that geopolitics has prevented Taiwan from fully accessing the forums and services of the World Health Organization – not least as the WHO could have benefited from its expertise.

In the interests of global health coverage, we urge all WHO members to support Taiwan’s access to the World Health Assembly as an observer, as was the case between 2009 and 2016. This will have no wider implications than to ensure that 23 million people with something to offer are not excluded from exchanging best practices.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen Prime minister of Denmark 2001-09, Aleksander Kwaśniewski President of Poland 1995-2005, Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of Estonia 2006-16, Carl Bildt Prime minister of Sweden 1991-94, Bertel Haarder Interior and health minister of Denmark 2010-11

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