The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that it was setting up an independent panel to review its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by governments.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to head the panel and chose its members, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting with representatives of WHO’s 194 member states, which was webcast.
“This is a time for self-reflection,” Tedros said, noting that WHO’s member states in May called unanimously for an evaluation of the global response to the pandemic.
(Without input from WHO)
Remarks from Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
“The magnitude of this pandemic, which has touched virtually everyone in the world, clearly deserves a commensurate evaluation; an honest evaluation.
This is not a standard report that ticks a box and is then put on a shelf to gather dust. This is something we take seriously. We learn honestly, and we follow through too, honest to the assessment, and honest to the follow through and implementation.
With this in mind, I am proud to announce that former Prime Minister Helen Clark and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the evaluation committee, which we are calling the Independent panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR).
Prime Minister Clark of New Zealand went to on lead the United Nations Development Programme. President Sirleaf of Liberia is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. We’ll be hearing from them shortly. I was so proud that these two distinguished ladies have accepted the challenge and agreed to lead the panel.
Prime Minister Clark and President Sirleaf were selected through a process of broad informal consultation with Member States and world experts. I cannot imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process, to help us understand what happened – an honest assessment – and to help us understand also what we should do to prevent such a tragedy in the future. So collectively, as a world to say “never again” to such kind of tragedy.
I thank you both, Prime Minister Clark and President Sirleaf, for accepting to lead this important panel. And I look forward to working with you and helping you in any way possible, putting WHO forward like an open book, so you can have full access, so you can see what was done, and calling on all Member States to open up and show them everything as an open book, so we understand honestly and truthfully.”