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ROK Leads Launch of UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security

  • Date : 2020-05-14 18:22:57
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1. The government of the Republic of Korea held a video conference to launch the “UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security,” aimed at strengthening the UN’s response to health security issues, including COVID-19, on the morning of May 12 (New York time), and discussed future plans for its activities with the participating countries.


o The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has led the establishment of the Group of Friends, with the ROK Permanent Mission to the UN playing a central role, in order to create a forum for free discussions and stronger cooperation on health security issues, including COVID-19, within the UN, on the basis of the international community’s trust in the ROK’s exemplary response to COVID-19.


o The Group, the first Group of Friends to be launched on COVID-19 at the UN since the spread of the virus, will be co-chaired by the ROK, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, the State of Qatar, and the Republic of Sierra Leone, and be operated as an open-ended Group where other UN member states can participate freely.


2. In her welcoming remarks, Minister Kang stressed that action-oriented and proper comprehensive response is important to tackle global infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and expressed hope that the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security, created at the proposal of the ROK government, will become an effective platform for multilateral cooperation where the UN can explore measures for such response.


o The foreign ministers of other co-chairs commended the ROK’s leadership in launching the Group of Friends, and expressed their willingness to contribute actively to the international community’s efforts to strengthen health security, including COVID-19 response.


3. Invited speakers, including the UN Deputy Secretary-General, emphasized the role of the UN to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, and discussed the need for international cooperation to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on various areas, including health as well as peace, security, development, and human rights, and to facilitate the global recovery from COVID-19.


o Ms. Lee Min-won, Director-General of the Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), who attended the meeting as a speaker from the ROK side, shared the challenges that the ROK faced due to COVID-19 as well as its experience of successful response based on transparency, openness and democracy. In response, participants showed significant interest.


4. The representatives from the UN member states and the UN Secretariat who took part in the meeting highly commended the ROK government for playing a leading role in discussions at the UN, including the launch of the Group of Friends, on the basis of its experience of exemplary response. They also expected the Group’s in-depth discussions to be a great help in facilitating the UN’s coordinated response and effective action regarding health security issues, including COVID-19.


5. The Group of Friends is expected to serve as an important platform for seeking ways to promote human security based on solidarity and cooperation within the UN, with a focus on not only COVID-19 response, but also various global health security challenges that the international community may face.


o The ROK government, as co-chair of the Group, will continue to lead global health cooperation, including by sharing the ROK’s measures to control COVID-19 and know-how in establishing an advanced medical system.


o The Group of Friends will conduct a range of activities based on consultations among participating countries, including holding ambassador-level meetings on a regular basis and operating other consultative mechanisms at various levels; holding briefings and meetings with experts; and delivering joint remarks and holding side events at UN meetings.