WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus nominated for second term by France, Germany

This is the first that a candidate has not been nominated by the home country for the top post at the UN Health Agency.

Created On: Sep 24, 2021 18:12 IST
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

France and Germany along with other European Union nations have nominated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for a second term at the post. This is the first that a candidate has not been nominated by the home country for the top post at the UN Health Agency.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian biologist who has been serving as the Director-General of the World Health Organization since 2017. The election for the next WHO Director-General is scheduled to take place during the body's next annual assembly meeting in May 2022. The term of the WHO Director-General is five years

As per sources, around 15 other European Union members joined France and Germany in nominating Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for the post.

Tedros to be sole candidate for WHO top spot?

As per diplomatic sources, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus may be the sole candidate for the post of WHO Chief. The 56-year-old former Ethiopian health and foreign minister was reportedly the only person in the race before the final deadline of submissions on September 23rd. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had become the first African to take over as the Chief of World Health Organisation upon his election in 2017. 

The WHO Chief has been in the spotlight since the past year due to his role in steering WHO's efforts to coordinate a tumultuous global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the worst crisis the world has seen since World War II.

Why did Ethiopia not nominate him?

Generally, the candidates for the top spot at the World Health Organisation are nominated by their home countries. However, there is no compulsion for the same as any WHO member state can back any candidate.

Ethiopia reportedly withdrew its support from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's candidacy over the conflict in his home region of Tigray. The WHO Chief due to his outspokenness about killings and other human rights abuses in Tigray run afoul of the Ethiopian government led by Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

While it was expected that he would receive support for a second term as WHO Chief from at least one country, Ethiopia's withdrawal made it a bit complicated. However, in a surprise move, Germany and France nominated him. 

Background 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was a former top official in the Tigray People's Liberation Front. He also served as the health and foreign minister in the previous Ethiopian government.

WHO under Tedros had also come under criticism from the US administration under former President Donald Trump over allegations of grievous missteps in responding to COVID-19 last year. 

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