On November 4, Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States declared that in 77 days, a new US government led by him will reverse the incumbent President Donald Trump's decision to exit Paris Climate Agreement made official earlier during the same day.
Biden's promise will have far reaching effects on the climate change mitigation measures taken by the global community - 197 countries that had ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - as the Paris Agreement builds on this convention. In Paris, the signatory countries of UNFCCC had decided to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change due to rise in global temperature. It also talked of strengthening the ability of developing countries and the most vulnerable countries (like island nations) to deal with the impact of climate change by providing appropriate financial assistance, technology support and enhanced capacity building framework. By withdrawing from the Agreement, Trump was shying away from the leadership role his country was expected to play in bringing about the change. Biden says, the United States will honour the promise.
Biden has also made his position clear on another decision Trump Administration has made on United Nations body World Health Organisation (WHO). In response to Trump's decision to pull out from the WHO by stating that the funds United States used to contribute to this UN body will be directed to other public health charities, Biden had tweeted that on his first day as President, US will rejoin WHO and restore his country's leadership on the world stage. Trump's decision at a time when the WHO is at the centre of helping countries worldover to fight COVID-19 pandemic was seen by experts as damaging to the sustainability of several WHO programmes. The US contribution used to account for about 15 per cent of the WHO's budget.
The third, and equally important position Trump Administration took was to delay appointments to the dispute settlement body of World Trade Organisation (WTO). Trump has also been vocal about his distrust in WTO and multilateral trade negotiations. Incidentally, without an active Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), WTO's ability to deal with trade disputes among member nations will remain seriously curtailed. Further, the WTO system of decision making through consensus has given some bargaining power to poor and developing country members as they may not have such a luxury in a bilateral trade negotiation with a much bigger and powerful country. By sidelining WTO, Trump has been advocating for less liberalised trade. Biden's position on this is not as clear as his plans for the other two, but experts expect US trade policies to be less whimsical and more predictable than it is under Trump Administration.
The outcome of the Presidential elections in the United States of America is not yet certain - votes are being counted across the country at the moment - but the next President of the United States is definitely going to influence the trajectory of three global movements: On trade, health, and as Biden has already announced, the environment protection. That's certain.
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