Helen Clark to co-Lead WHO COVID-19 Panel on Global Response, Future Prevention
“Avowed multilateralists” New Zealander Helen Clark and Liberian politician Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will lead a World Health Organization (WHO) panel scrutinising the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic just as international institutions are under fire, John Miller reports for Reuters.
The work by Clark and Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s former president, will come into the harsh spotlight trained on the WHO by US President Donald Trump, who has accused the agency of being in China’s pocket while letting the pandemic spiral out of control.
In May, in an online forum, Clark criticised global leadership for failing to muster the “unity of purpose” that overcame challenges like eradicating smallpox.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the two women “strong-minded, independent leaders”, aiming to underscore their freedom in assessing his agency’s and governments’ COVID-19 responses.
“The brief we’ve been given is, what do we need to stop the world being blindsided again by a crisis like this?” Clark told The Guardian, which said the investigation is expected to report its initials findings in November.
Clark had three terms in office, and was prime minister from 1999 to 2008. In 2009 she was appointed to lead the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Original article by John Miller, Reuters, July 10, 2020. Photo by Helen Klisser During.