Jun 15, 2007

Letter to the Director General of the WHO

In a letter addressed to the Director General of the World Health Organization, MEPs Marco Cappato and Marco Pannella asked for the participation of Taiwan in the organisation's activities.

Brussels, 14 June 2007.


To the kind attention of
Dr. Margaret Chan
Director General
World Health Organization

And for information to
Mr. Markos Kyprianou
EU Commissioner for Health


Re: Taiwan and the World Health Organization

Dear Mrs. Margaret Chan,

Since 1971 the Taiwanese people have suffered a marked lack of representation in international fora, including access to the global health system and the work of WHO. There is an urgent need to address this state of affairs, in particular when accounting for the recent warning of several countries on the possibility of the spread of infectious diseases such as the avian influenza, and potential worldwide epidemics. By virtue of this communication, I would hereby like to convey our strong support, as members of the European Parliament, for the participation of democratic Taiwan in the WHO.

Seeing that the overall goal of the WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO essentially contradicts this objective. Furthermore, Taiwan continues to actively cooperate on several international health projects and supply humanitarian assistance to the international community, with efforts recognized internationally.

In accordance with the very principles of the WHO, and seeing that WHO has a responsibility to ensure that Taiwan's government and health professionals are given direct and unobstructed access to vital health information, particularly in the prevention and spread of deadly diseases such as SARS, HIV/AIDS and Avian Flu, it would be crucial to give Taiwan the opportunity to participate in the work of the WHO, at a minimum by granting observer status.

Moreover, in view of the fact that the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 is coming into force tomorrow (June 15), and that we all know perfectly well that the new IHR system can not be meaningful o  effective if the huge gap of the 23 million people of Taiwan is left uncovered, we strongly encourage the WHO to take immediate action to establish a national focal point in Taiwan, so that the world health system can be better prepared to prevent and combat the threats of epidemic diseases.

We will actively work in the European Parliament to strongly support Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO and urge the invitation for Taiwan to attend, as an observer, the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, as well the facilitation of the participation of Taiwan in overall global health cooperation, such technical meetings of the WHO.


Best regards,


Marco Cappato MEP
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Marco Pannella MEP
Member of the Legal Affairs Committee