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2nd Vice Minister's Opening Remarks At the Opening Session of the High-level Symposium on Korea’s Leadership in the Global Fight against Tuberculosis and Malaria Seoul, August 27, 2019

  • Date : 2019-09-05 10:34:08
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Opening Remarks by H.E. Amb. Lee Taeho
 Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
At the Opening Session of the High-level Symposium on Korea’s Leadership in the Global Fight against Tuberculosis and Malaria
Seoul, August 27, 2019

The Honorable Shim Jae-kwon,
Member of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly,

Mr. Peter Sands,
Executive Director of the Global Fund,

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to announce the opening of the High?level Symposium on Korea’s Leadership in the Global Fight against Tuberculosis and Malaria.
I would like to thank you all moderators, Amb. Joseph Yun, Professor Ahn Dongil, and panelists of the forthcoming sessions, and other experts for being with us this afternoon.

Four years ago, the world gathered at the United Nations and committed itself to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all of all ages. Great progress has been made since then. The global average life expectancy has risen.
Maternal and child mortality rates have fallen. And millions of people are now living healthier and longer lives, free of diseases.

Nevertheless, there are still many lives to be saved. In 2017, approximately 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis, and 3.5 million more cases of malaria were confirmed in the 10 highest disease-burden African countries compared to the previous year. No more lives should be lost as a result of treatable and curable diseases.

The first UN Summit on SDGs will be held next month in New York. The international community will gather once again to review the progress made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the 17 sustainable development goals. I expect the Summit to be an opportunity to regain the momentum for some of the areas where progress has stalled. As we stand today in Seoul, in the run-up to the first SDG Summit, we are reminded of our common commitment to eradicate epidemics by 2030.

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Korea is pleased to be part of global efforts for the betterment of human health. Its primary focus lies in ensuring better access to health services and products, with a special focus on vulnerable groups, including women and children. Enhancing hospital capacity and improving the quality of medical care are areas of Korea’s further interest. Having set health as a priority sector, Korea has been expanding its ODA to global health, allocating 13% of its total ODA to health-related projects and funds in 2019.

Fighting diseases is a task that requires not just adequate resources but continuous innovation. In 2007, the Korean government introduced an air-ticket solidarity levy. 1,000 Korean Won, or 90 cents, is collected for every passenger taking international flight departing Korea. It is an innovative financing mechanism in the sense that every passenger participates as a donor in the fight against diseases. Transformed into the Global Disease Eradication Fund in 2017, this fund is used to treat and prevent infectious diseases in low-income countries.
Korea is committed to exerting further efforts so that this Fund does indeed play an important role in global efforts to fight infectious diseases and make global health security a reality.

Meanwhile, Korea’s private health sector has also played a meaningful role in the international efforts to fight diseases. The pharmaceutical and biotech industries, with their high technology and innovative skills, are developing new medical solutions and strengthening partnerships with other development actors.
In this sense, I cannot overemphasize the importance of forging stronger ties with the private sector in realizing the precious goals the world is determined to achieve.

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Global Fund, which connects governments, civil society, technical agencies, private sectors, and people affected by the diseases all over the world, is a unique and indispensable partnership organization in the global health sector.
Through its multi-layered partnerships, it has helped save 27 million lives and treat many more people infected with HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.  Korea desires to remain an active partner of the Global Fund in spreading the benefits the Global Fund provides throughout the international community.

The DPRK is one of the many beneficiaries. North Korea, as a high disease burden country, has been receiving support from the Global Fund to control and eliminate infectious tuberculosis and malaria for more than ten years. Considering the close proximity of the two Koreas and relatively high incidence of the two diseases in South Korea for a developed country, it is indeed the entire Korean Peninsula that the Global Fund is helping.

In October this year, the Global Fund will host the 6th Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France. The Fund seeks to raise at least 14 billion US dollars for 2020-2022 to help save 16 million lives, avert 234 million infections, and put the world back on the track to end the epidemics. I wish the Global Fund every success in mobilizing the targeted resources.  Korea for its part plans to fulfill its due responsibility by significantly increasing its pledge to the Fund.

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, who is with us today, recently sent out an Open Letter to “seven-year-olds everywhere.”

The Letter contains the promise to do everything we can to eliminate AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria by 2030 when these kids have grown up.
It is our collective responsibility, the manifest duty of the current generation, to deliver on this promise made in the Letter for next generations.

I hope today’s symposium will provide us with valuable lessons and meaningful insights regarding how we can move forward in our journey toward the world where these epidemics are completely eradicated.

Thank you. /End/