Welcome to the IGO Watch Monthly Newsletter for May

With so many activities by international government organizations (IGOs) around the world, it can be hard to keep track of their many problems! From scandals and corruption charges to squandering taxpayer dollars and proposing new and onerous systems of taxation, here is a brief overview of the most important IGO events from May.

 

WHO’s at fault!

Despite having earned widespread praise for its success fighting COVID-19, Taiwan didn’t get an invitation to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), held from May 24 – June 1.  Despite international support for their efforts to join as an observer with more governments, legislators, and prominent medical figures backing this country’s bid, the World Health Organization (WHO) remained blissfully ignorant to their pleas. In a grander scheme of issues we’ve been criticizing the WHO for, this may seem insignificant, but it is an important illustration of the pervasive influence that makes the WHO nothing more than a puppet organization that dabbles more into political games than actually working to improve global health.

After months, if not years, of talks about the need for internal and structural changes, Taiwan’s exclusion was a huge missed opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the global health agency is capable of making correct steps to become a force for good.

Reforming the WHO is an essential step to ensure that what happened with the COVID-19 pandemic never happens again. This is why all countries should make it clear to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that any hope of garnering necessary support must start with enhancing Taiwan’s WHO role.

If this is not to be the case, and the WHO continues to pander to the influence of prominent eastern countries, taxpayer dollars will be spent on a corrupt organization with dangerous health policies that act only in its own self-interest.

Just look at some of the latest issues, and see for yourself if they should represent the behavior of an accountable and transparent international organization:

– An “independent” panel set up by the WHO (to evaluate the WHO), decided last month that there were serious failures in WHO’s global response to the pandemic. Yes, we can all agree to that. But who is at fault? Well, according to this panel, it’s the national governments’ fault. The WHO was doing an awesome job, but, unfortunately, it just wasn’t empowered enough.

– Serious accusations also arose last month with British, European, and American diplomats and donors voicing their concerns about how the WHO handled sex abuse allegations involving its own staff during an outbreak of Ebola in Congo. It is not the first time cases like these are reported, nor will it be the last, because the agency doesn’t allow any transparency with issues like these and deals with all matters behind closed doors. This is not the WHO the world needs.

 

An Eastern vision of the future.

Last month was a serious demonstration of China flexing its international muscles at the United Nations (UN). As China held the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for May, it wasted no time in describing their vision of the world, shaped according to their narrative. China’s representatives outlined the need for reform that would deprioritize the liberal democracies in Europe and North America, which have played an outsized role in the UN since its inception. The Security Council presents an easy target for Beijing to hijack and maximize influence, which is why the U.S. should denounce any attempt by Beijing to use the body as a platform to manipulate the agenda to shield dictators and undermine democracy.

We’ve already seen the consequences of letting dictators and authoritarian regimes manipulate international bodies to steer their agenda and influence policy. In the UN Human Rights Council alone, nearly half the serving countries have been cited for conducting reprisals against activists, lawyers and others who cooperate with the world body. And when human rights defenders cannot safely share information about violations and abuses taking place in their countries, then the entire system is undermined.

Now imagine what would happen to international diplomatic relations if this kind of conduct becomes the norm. The highest UN bodies must not become a vessel where dictators use fear and violence to influence global politics.

 

Partner Spotlight: CENDEIT

CENDEIT (Center for Integral Educational Development) aims to improve the quality of life of people through sustainable development projects and programs throughout Peru, putting a special emphasis on the education and training of children, youth, and adults.

CENDEIT aims to be an agent of cohesion between communities so that all actors look to the future with a perspective of shared value, trust and transparency. CENDEIT operates in Peru and has a network of diverse allies in the US and Latin America.

 

See Something? Say Something!

We’re always looking for regional coordinators from countries around the world to help us distribute information on social media, write blog posts and op-eds, and provide us with on-the-ground information from their region.

If you have any tips about stories, or would like to become a regional coordinator, please send us an email!

Until next month,

IGO Watch Team