NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamian Keva Bain, the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, has been elected to serve as president of the 73rd World Health Assembly.
In an unprecedented move due to global spread of COVID-19, the two-day WHA is being hosted virtually today with representatives from the UN’s 194 member states.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis addressed the assembly this morning, highlighting the dire economic situation the country faces due to its primarily tourism-based economy.
Minnis said: “In this vein, as we request assistance to address COVID-19 in The Bahamas and in other small island states, we urge the international community to adopt and to appreciate a broader understanding of the developmental levels and the unique local circumstances in our states.”
The WHA is normally held annually in Geneva, Switzerland, and is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization.
Its main functions are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
However, this year’s forum is expected to be nearly entirely devoted to global coordination against the COVID-19 pandemic.
It follows a decision by the U.S. to withhold funding from WHO due to its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
According to The Guardian, member states will also address a proposal for inquiry into the orgins of the virus, and a systemic review of global response.
A key conference paper has reportedly already been filed ahead of the assembly, and is supported by 122 countries.
In February, the Foreign Affairs minister announced Bain’s appointment as Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation and Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Switzerland.
“Ambassador-designate Bain’s professional career spans employment in both the public and private sectors,” the MOFA statement read.
“She served as a Foreign Service Officer for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. During her tenure, she was posted to The Bahamas High Commission in London, the Consulate General of The Bahamas in New York, and at the Permanent Mission of The Bahamas to the United Nations in New York.
At the time, Bain also served as the Acting Director of Trade and Industry and Legal Advisor within the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry, and Immigration, with responsibility for international trade and industry matters.