Taiwan to lobby WHA delegates in Geneva

Geneve le 27 janvier 2015. Le siege de l'Organisation Mondiale de la Sante lors du 136 eme session du Conseil executif du World Health Organization (WHO). (Sipa via AP Images)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A delegation comprised of civic group members will depart Taiwan for Geneva May 16 to promote Taiwan’s bid to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

The WHA, which is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is scheduled to take place at the United Nations’ European headquarters in Geneva May 20-28. Taiwan’s government is making an effort to obtain an invitation to attend the meeting.

Tseng Tsung-kai (曾琮愷), spokesman of the 20-odd-member delegation, said the group will rally in front of the Broken Chair sculpture at U.N. headquarters, and will try to participate in the WHO’s “Walk the Talk” event, which promotes health and raises awareness of the work of the WHO and other global health agencies.

The delegation will also organize a carnival on the weekend before the WHA meeting to introduce Taiwanese cuisine and culture, Tseng said.

He said it is the 16th consecutive year that his delegation has visited Geneva to raise Taiwan’s visibility.

Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.

Taiwan took part in every WHA meeting since then until 2017.

Since then, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with Beijing’s hardline stance on cross-Taiwan Strait relations after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, Taiwan sent delegations to Geneva to protest its exclusion from the WHA and to meet with delegates on the sidelines of the forum.

By Elaine Hou and Christie Chen