U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Wednesday that the United States plants to pay the more than $200 million the country owes to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) by the end of February, moving forward with the Biden administration's commitment to rejoin the global health agency after former President Donald Trump worked to break the nation's membership.
"This is a key step forward in fulfilling our financial obligations as a W.H.O. member and it reflects our renewed commitment to ensuring the W.H.O. has the support it needs to lead the global response to the pandemic even as we work to reform it for the future," Blinken remarked before the United Nations Security Council via a videoconference.
"We must defeat COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics," Blinken stated before U.S. global allies. "To that end, we'll work with partners around the globe to strengthen and reform the W.H.O.; to support the Global Health Security Agenda; to build sustainable preparedness for biological threats; to create a warning system that will allow us to respond more rapidly with testing, with tracing, with [personal protective equipment] needed to save lives."
Blinken also highlighted on the need for global allies to help combat pandemic misinformation, especially when it comes to vaccines. He also wanted to establish independent investigations into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 so that scientists can better understand the pathogen that has infected over 111 million people worldwide and killed over 2.4 million.
"The ongoing expert investigation about the origins of this pandemic and the report that will be issued must be independent with findings based on science and facts and free from interference," Blinken added. "To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, all countries must make available all data from the earliest days of the outbreak."
The sentiment of global pandemic transparency was echoed earlier in the week, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in on Monday that world powers should enter a treaty to ensure all information regarding the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is shared worldwide.
"I think one of the attractive ideas that we have seen in the last few months has been a proposal for a global treaty on pandemics, so that signatory countries make sure that they contribute all the data they have and we are able to get to the bottom of what's happened and stop it happening again," he stated during a news conference, quoted by Reuters.