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U.S. Statement at the WHO Special Session of the Executive Board
October 6, 2020

World Health Organization
Special Session Of The Executive Board

Geneva, Switzerland And Virtual
October 6, 2020

Update from the Co-Chairs of the
Independent Review Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR)

As Delivered by Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D.

United States Statement:

Honorable Minister Vardhan and Fellow Members of the Executive Board

WHO Member States at the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA73.1, calling for a “stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms, as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.”

Member States overwhelmingly supported this resolution because we all want to understand what happened, how it happened, why it happened and how we all can better protect the international community from ever facing such a pandemic again.

Millions have been impacted by COVID-19, some losing loved ones, many losing their jobs and now we are all facing unprecedented health and economic challenges, and a crisis of confidence in key institutions like nothing we have experienced in our lifetimes.

The United States appreciates the willingness of the Co-Chairs, former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to lead the Panel.

We appreciate and support the organized approach and clear process described this morning by the co-chairs.

However, we feel it is important for the IPPR to provide findings – even if preliminary – well in advance of the 74th World Health Assembly so that Member States can develop and find consensus on governance and other necessary strengthening mechanisms to ensure the WHO’s toolkit is up-to-date and fit for purpose.

I also request that Members of the Executive Board be briefed this November and again in early January 2021, prior to the Executive Board meeting, so that we can engage in substantive discussions on how best to address the challenges and issues identified by the IPPR.

We appreciate the progress made by the IPPR to date, and are reassured by the confirmation that the IPPR, the IHR Review Committee, and the IOAC are coordinating and collaborating.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to applaud the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for taking steps, in collaboration with Member States, to strengthen its governance and the oversight role of its governing bodies.

PAHO worked with its Member States to craft governance strengthening measures designed to increase transparency, impartiality and mitigate risks to PAHO. I greatly appreciate Dr. Etienne’s leadership on these issues and see PAHO’s efforts as instructive for the IPPR and WHO.

The United States looks forward to its findings and recommendations, and we appreciate the willingness of its members to serve.

Thank you