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ROK Leads Launch of Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response (G4IDR)
1. On the morning of May 20 (Geneva time), the government of the Republic of Korea held a video conference to launch the “Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response (G4IDR)” with the aim of leading the international community’s creation of an effective mechanism for responding to global infectious disease threats, including COVID-19.
o The Group will carry out its activities mainly in Geneva, where the headquarters of major international health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), are located. The Group is the first Geneva-based group to be launched since the outbreak of COVID-19.
o The Group plans to lead action-oriented discussions for more effective and efficient global health governance based on lessons from COVID-19, with a small number of core-members from each region playing leading roles in the health sector, including members of the WHO Executive Board, at its center.
2. At the conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang, Kyung-wha and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus extended congratulations on the launch of the Support Group, and a number of representatives from other major health organizations dealing with infectious diseases engaged in a panel discussion on challenges and opportunities for the global governance of infectious disease response and preparedness.
3. In her congratulatory remarks, Minister Kang, noting that efforts by individual countries alone cannot successfully combat global infectious diseases such as COVID-19, expressed hope that the Support Group launched at the proposal of the ROK government would contribute successfully to discussions in Geneva on strengthening global health governance.
o Representatives from other core-member states highly commended the role of the ROK, which has led the launch of the group of like-minded countries in Geneva, the global center for discussions on public health, where the WHO is located. They expressed their will to continue to contribute jointly to strengthening relevant health organizations, including the WHO.
4. In his congratulatory remarks, WHO Director-General Tedros welcomed the launch of the Support Group led by the ROK, which has been showing an example of best practice in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. He expected the Group to play a catalytic role in effectively responding to COVID-19 and other potential pandemics in the future, and expressed the WHO’s support for the Group.
o Representatives from other international health organizations, including the Global Fund, Gavi, and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), welcomed and supported the launch of the Group, and looked forward to the leadership role of the Group amid the growing need for international cooperation and solidarity to respond to COVID-19 and other global infectious diseases.
5. The launch of the Group comes after President Moon Jae-in’s participation on May 18 in the World Health Assembly (WHA), where he stressed the importance of the international community’s close cooperation and solidarity to overcome COVID-19. The Group is expected to lead discussions on strengthening global health governance not only to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also to effectively tackle threats and challenges of other fatal infectious diseases that the international community may face in the post-COVID-19 era.
o The Support Group will draw up concrete action plans following close consultations among core-members, with the ROK serving as its chair, and conduct various activities to raise awareness on infectious disease response and set the agenda (joint statement, events with experts, and cooperative events with various stakeholders), considering the agenda of major health organizations, including the WHO Executive Board.