'Damaged credibility': Modi's UN speech asks WHO, World Bank to shape up

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 25, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
World institutions have "damaged their credibility" and must work to stay relevant, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations on Saturday, referring to their handling of the coronavirus pandemic and an international economic report.

"If the United Nations wants to remain relevant. It will need to improve its effectiveness and enhance its reliability," he said at the General Assembly in New York.

Modi was referring to the criticism of World Health Organization, a UN agency, and the World Bank, an independent institution. WHO has been criticised for its messaging about the Covid-19 outbreak in China in December 2019. The World Bank said on September 18 it was suspending Doing Business ranking over data irregularities.

Modi said the questions about the UN’s work risk threatening its credibility.  "We have seen such questions being raised, related to the climate crisis and during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said, according to PTI.

"With regard to the origin of Covid-19 and the ease of doing business rankings, institutions of global governance have damaged the credibility they had built after decades of hard work."

The World Bank said on September 16 it would cancel the "Doing Business" series on country business climates, citing internal audits and a separate independent probe by law firm WilmerHale that found senior World Bank leaders, including Kristalina Georgieva, who now heads the International Monetary Fund, pressured staff to alter data to favor China during her time as World Bank CEO.

Georgieva has strongly denied the findings.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters.)

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