Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Germany nominates Tedros for new term as WHO chief

Germany nominates Tedros for new term as WHO chief

Germany is nominating Ethiopia's Tedros  Adhanom Ghebreyesus for a new term as the head of the World Health  Organization, the health ministry said on Wednesday. 

 With Germany's nomination secured, the 56-year-old former health minister  appeared to be the only person in the race a day before the deadline for  submissions on Thursday. 

Tedros was elected as the head of WHO in 2017 and became the first African  to take the helm of the UN health agency. 

He has not yet confirmed that he was a candidate for a second five-year  term, but a number of diplomatic sources said he would stand. 

Tedros enjoys relative popularity over his role in steering the WHO's  efforts to coordinate the tumultuous global pandemic response, and even if  other candidates were put forward at the last minute, he was widely expected  to come out on top. 

But his candidacy had been complicated after Ethiopia allegedly withdrew its support over the conflict in his home region of Tigray. 

Candidates for the UN health body's top slot are generally nominated by  their home countries. 

In principle though any WHO member state can back any candidate and Tedros  had been widely expected to receive support from at least one country. 

But Germany's nomination came as a surprise. 

Most observers had predicted that the backing would come from African  countries, which have generally been happy to have one of their own in such  an important position. 

Diplomats had suggested that at least one or more countries on the  continent would be willing to risk facing Ethiopian anger and back him. 

Ethiopia itself has not officially said it will not back Tedros, but several sources said the country had clearly signalled it was withdrawing its  support for his candidacy. 

As the world's highest-profile Tigrayan, Tedros has fallen foul of the  government in Addis Ababa by repeatedly using his platform to condemn the  crackdown in his home region. 

WHO member states have until 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Thursday to nominate  director-general candidates, but the UN health agency is not expected to  announce who is on the list until early November. 

If there is more than one candidate, an initial screening process will  begin in January 2022 to create a shortlist of no more than five candidates. 

Member states will vote for the next WHO chief through a secret ballot  during the World Health Assembly in May.