Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has made a five- point recommendation to the world leaders including undertaking a time-bound action plan on the global Covid vaccination drive and making a blue print for managing future pandemic.
He made the recommendations in the Ministerial Meeting on Covid-19 convened by United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken virtually on Wednesday, a foreign ministry press release said here.
The Bangladesh foreign minister, firstly, underscored the necessity to undertake a time-bound action plan, supported by financing and capacity building, for
addressing the unwarranted vaccine gap for many low and middle-income countries.
Secondly, he suggested convening a High-level Panel by the WHO featuring select global leaders to devise a blueprint for preventing and managing future pandemic, ideally with gender and geographic balance.
Thirdly, he urged the US and the WHO to take the lead by in convening an Expert Working Group on the question of strengthening national level disease control agencies
Fourthly, he called for supporting the vaccine manufacturing capabilities in certain countries like Bangladesh in the Global South, in a meaningful manner through appropriate interventions concerning intellectual property rights and technology transfer
Finally, Dr Momen recommended factoring the linkage between climate change and biodiversity loss with pandemic outbreaks in the collective efforts to build back better, greener and stronger from the pandemic.
In his statement, the Foreign Minister also highlighted that Bangladesh has managed to keep the fatality rate lower than the global average as currently the infection rate remains under 1 per cent in the country.
Contrary to some dire projections, he said, Bangladesh managed to keep the infection and death rates absolutely minimal in the congested Rohingya camps Cox’s Bazar, he added.
The Foreign Minister reiterated Bangladesh’s demand that the Covid-19 vaccines should be declared as ‘global public good’ to make affordable to all countries.
He also urged that pharmaceutical companies, including those in Bangladesh, should be encouraged and assisted to produce Covid-19; and stated that Dhaka stands ready to contribute to global vaccines production for sharing with others.
Recalling that Bangladesh has so far administered 78m vaccine doses, with 46m single doses and 32m double doses, the Foreign Minister said, “The target is to vaccinate 80 per cent of our target population group by March 2022, and for that continued supply of vaccines is required.”
Dr Momen stressed upon the necessity to have strong partnership and collaboration amongst the Foreign Ministers to step up political support in such critical situations at present and also in the future.
Earlier in his statement, US Secretary of State Blinken urged Foreign Ministers to work together to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, and announced the launch of a Covid Data Tracker.
Secretary Blinken presided over the sessions, with IMF Managing Director, US NIH Director and WHO Director General setting the scene.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Ministers of around 25 countries. In addition to Bangladesh Foreign Minister, the Foreign Ministers of the EU, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Romania, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, ROK, South Africa, Senegal and Kenya were invited to speak.
The Senior Representatives of the African Union, Pacific Island Forum and League of Arab States, Organisation of American States also spoke.
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