A host of U.N. agencies lined up Thursday to applaud Joe Biden’s ascension to the White House, scarcely suppressing their glee that U.S. taxpayer dollars will once more be flowing their way.
First off the mark was the World Health Organization which had previously faced blistering criticism from the outgoing administration for its maladminstration of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump pulled funding from the W.H.O. last November because of the organization’s role in “mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus” during its early stages, a move that slowed the world’s response.
President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced an immediate return to the body late Wednesday night along with the flow of cash.
Fauci said the Biden administration “will cease the drawdown of U.S. staff seconded to the WHO” and resume “regular engagement” with WHO. “The United States also intends to fulfil its financial obligations to the organization,” he added.
He referred to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O. director-general, as “my dear friend” without touching on the controversies that have dogged his tenure including calls for the career bureaucrat to resign:
UPDATE: A petition calling for the resignation of World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is nearing one million signatures. https://t.co/INFaBju21O
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 12, 2020
“This is a good day for W.H.O. and a good day for global health,” Tedros said in reply, referring to “my brother Tony” in reference to Fauci, while congratulating Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.”
Reuters reports former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres was next to gush her delight, warmly voicing her approval that U.S. dollars and influence will once more underpin the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a standing ovation just by entering the room,” Figueres said, referring to a U.S. return to global climate talks. “That doesn’t mean that they will have a standing ovation forever. They have to prove that they are really determined to make the changes that are necessary.”
Trump argued at the time he announced the decision to withdraw that the international agreement would hurt the U.S. economy and workers and would unfairly cost the country more financially than countries that are bigger polluters, including China.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Trump said.
Now that has been reversed.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also welcomed the U.S. return but added: “There is a very long way to go. The climate crisis continues to worsen and time is running out to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and build more climate-resilient societies that help to protect the most vulnerable.”
Biden has already said he wants to put the United States on track to net zero emissions by 2050 but has yet to detail exactly how that will be achieved.
Joe Biden unleashes his America Last agenda! pic.twitter.com/S4ugxZP689
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 21, 2021
Even so, that lack of detail did not stop the European Union (E.U.) from saying its own “welcome back” – with a few added provisos.
“One of the core challenges for the administration is going to be reframing this as opportunity for green growth, for jobs – for the kind of things we’ve seen in Europe, which has managed to significantly grow its economy while reducing its carbon emissions,” said Kelley Kizzier, a former E.U. climate negotiator, now at the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund.
The EU is already eyeing areas for collaboration.
Frans Timmermans, the E.U. climate policy chief, said he would team up with John Kerry, Biden’s international climate envoy, “to convince ever more countries that ambitious climate action is in their best interest.”
Former President Barack Obama’s administration pledged to deliver $3 billion to the U.N. flagship fund to help address climate issues.
“President Biden should fulfil the remaining pledge,” said Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, chair of the African Group of Negotiators in global climate talks.