Korea starts group to respond to viruses with WHO

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Korea starts group to respond to viruses with WHO

A Korea-led multilateral group responding to the threats of Covid-19 and other global infectious diseases that involves key international health organizations was launched Wednesday in Geneva.  
 
The Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response, or G4IDR, kicked off its first virtual conference, Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday evening. It was attended by some 80 government officials, diplomats, experts and global health leaders including the World Health Organization (WHO) chief.
 
The G4IDR is expected to serve as a Geneva-based mechanism to coordinate international responses to threats from infectious diseases including the coronavirus and serve as a platform to encourage action-oriented discussions on global health governance.
 
Along with Korea, the eight core members include Singapore, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Kenya, Mexico and Peru.  
 
This is the first such informal group to be established in Geneva, the headquarters of many international health organizations including the WHO, since the outbreak of the coronavirus.  
 
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in remarks in the videoconference, said that Korea has “been a leader and an example of best practice in its management of the Covid-19 pandemic with its timely response, use of widespread testing and creative use of technology.”
 
He added that “Korea has shown a generous desire to reach out to others” through information sharing and drawing on its past expertise fighting outbreaks and called this “solidarity in action.”  
 
The videoconference was attended by global health leaders including Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Philippe Duneton, deputy executive director of Unitaid; Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership; and Jerome Kim, director-general of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute.  
 
“This initiative is an example of the multilateral cooperation between nations that is crucial as we take on this pandemic and build more resilient health systems going forward,” said Tedros. He said he hopes that the G4IDR “can play a catalytic role” to this end.  
 
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks on May 12 at a virtual conference launching a ’Group of Friends“ platform coordinating global health and coronavirus response in the United Nations. A second Korea-led multilateral cooperation group on global infectious disease response was launched Wednesday in Geneva involving the World Health Organization and other key international organizations. [MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS]

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks on May 12 at a virtual conference launching a ’Group of Friends“ platform coordinating global health and coronavirus response in the United Nations. A second Korea-led multilateral cooperation group on global infectious disease response was launched Wednesday in Geneva involving the World Health Organization and other key international organizations. [MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS]

Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said during the meeting that global infectious diseases like Covid-19 cannot successfully be dealt with by individual countries alone and that she hopes the new group in Geneva will successfully contribute to strengthening global health governance.  
 
This is the second multilateral cooperation group on coronavirus responses launched by Korea this month. Seoul has been sharing its experience containing Covid-19.
 
Korea last week launched the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security for members of the New York City-based United Nations to discuss the Covid-19 response and plans to launch a third similar group with Unesco on May 26.  
 
BY SARAH KIM   [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
 

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