Secretary Antony Blinken co-hosts a virtual COVID-19 Global Action Plan Foreign Ministerial Meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa at the Department of State, July 19, 2022.
Good morning. Good afternoon and good evening. Gracias por participar Foreign Minister, Good afternoon and good evening. Thank you for participating in the global action plan ministerial meeting I command on his dedication and the U. S. Leadership toward ending COVID-19. It is a great pleasure for me to co-host this gathering with Tony COVID-19 is far from over. The weekly update published last week, makes it clear that the number of cases globally increased for the fifth consecutive week. We need to remain steadfast in maintaining and accelerating our countermeasures and act globally with absolute determination to overcome this pandemic. Japan has contributed a participatory $5 billion global response to COVID-19 to date. In addition, as one of the leading countries for the global action plan line of effort loyalty one gets shot in. Japan has provided comprehensive vaccine related support and promoted cooperation among stakeholders on the ground. We have also been actively contributing to the discussion in L. Oy six strengthen global health security architecture to better prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics. In addition to financial contribution of up to $1.5 billion U. S. Dollars to co box and those donations, Japan has been providing tailor made assistance to meet the needs of the target countries from transportation to vaccinations through our ongoing last one mile support. For example, the provision of I hope you can see this. It’s a little bit small and also lee fridge related vaccine transport. So this has enabled the diversification of vaccine portfolios that can be handled on the ground while stabilizing the supply system. We are also working to reduce vaccine hesitancy. The global action plan has facilitated information sharing and coordination on the ground. In the implementation of such assistances. We have to address the fragility in governance and financing related to global health. We need to strengthen the foundation for better prevention preparedness and response PPR to future health crisis. Running the lessons from the current pandemic. We must work to combine the outcome of the ongoing various discussions on strengthening global health architecture. A strong global health architecture should ensure the present itiveness, legitimacy and effectiveness. Japan welcomes the recent approval by the Wild Bank of the establishment of the Financial Immediately Fund for pandemic prevention preparedness and response. Fifth Japan has decided to allocate 10 million U. S. Dollar as an initial contribution towards the operational launch of fifth in September. Additional contributions will be considered in the future. Once it is determined that the 5th has the appropriate governance structure, we have been fully supporting the Asian center for public health emergencies and emerging diseases. A feed towards its full scale copulation, both financially and through technical assistance as well as preparation for dispatching Japanese experts. I hope that the center will become a regional resource hub to strengthen Asian’s capabilities of population detection and response to public health emergencies and emerging diseases. Moreover, Japan has been working to strengthen cooperative relations by discussing Jessica staff to the African C. D. C. The Ace Tokyo International Conference on African development as we call it the card eight to be held in Tunisia on august 27 28 will be an excellent opportunity to strengthen international partnerships for PPR in Africa. As the president presidency of the G seven next year. Japan will actively contribute to strengthen global health architecture with a view to achieving universal health coverage. Such international efforts including negotiations to make targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations 205 and negotiations to develop a new international instrument for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response at W. H. O. I hope that through our discussions today we can be our farm, our commitment to overcome this pandemic and to strengthen our preparedness and response to future pandemics. Thank you Tony over to you. Okay. Mhm. We need to keep you and Japan uh your leadership role today as well as throughout. Uh it is greatly appreciated and I think I’m in violent agreement with pretty much everything you just said. Japan has played a critical role in our global action plan on COVID particularly the last mile support like expanding the Coltrane technology. Uh so more vaccines can actually be shipped two more places. And let me thank as well. Director General Tedros of the World Health Organization for joining us today and for his leadership every single day in this global effort back in February. When we Foreign ministers last met on COVID, We launched the global action plan to try to accelerate progress across six key lines of effort that were focused on the areas of the greatest need where we identified the biggest gaps. Getting more shots into arms, strengthening our supply chains, closing information gaps to try to increase confidence in vaccines, providing more support to frontline workers, uh increasing access to treatments and therapeutics and finally building a stronger, more effective global health architecture for the future. And you heard Foreign Minister Hayashi uh touch on virtually all of those lines. Um and what is so um inspiring is that countries stepped up uh to take responsibility for individual lines of effort based on their unique capabilities, with rigorous coordination across all of these lines of efforts, because ultimately, that’s the only way that will finally succeed in ending the acute phase of this pandemic. So I think it’s fair to say that since then, we’ve achieved real progress on all six lines of effort that we decided on together just on shots and arms, for example, among the 92 low and middle income countries supported by covax Advanced market commitment program, vaccination coverage in that time Has jumped from 28% at the end of January to 48% today. That is real significant, insufficient, but real significant progress. Um we’re seeing individual countries make major strides, for example, Malawi, which recently focused on vaccinating elderly people with a campaign that reached more people in two days than all previous efforts combined, targeted campaigns like these are critical to trying to close the vaccination gaps To that end, the United States began distributing pediatric vaccine doses last month. This is for Children ages 5-12. We’ve already donated more than six million doses to 11 countries and we’re gonna do more Because kids everywhere deserve protection from COVID-19 on supply chains. Our countries have begun working on an international clearinghouse platform from medical supplies that will make it easier for suppliers to actually connect with buyers and that will produce much greater efficiency in this effort, on closing the information gaps, We have campaigns underway in a number of countries to combat misinformation and disinformation, decide a couple of examples in the Philippines. The United States worked with religious leaders to boost vaccine confidence. These leaders incorporated COVID-19 messages into their prayer services. They reached more than half a million people in two parts of the country. Now, 97% of eligible people in those places have been vaccinated on support for health workers Among the 92 low and middle-income AMC countries, 75% of health workers have now been vaccinated on increasing access to treatments. This is the next challenge that we have to address together and Foreign Minister. Yeah, she also touched on this and we do that. We think by celebrating our work on robust test to treat programs that can connect a patient with treatment when they test positive, that reduces hospitalization, it saves lives and finally on enhancing global health security more broadly last month, um the World Bank helped establish this new financial intermediary fund, that Foreign Minister, how she mentioned, we appreciate very much Yoki Japan’s initial contribution that’s going to help strengthen national, regional and global capacities to prevent the next pandemic or if not to prevent it, to make sure that we have in place what’s necessary to mitigate it. And to help people, Several donors have already stepped forward, including the United States. We’ve made a pledge of $450 million. We hope more will contribute because as we’ve seen with COVID-19 sustainable financing is necessary to break the cycle that we often see of panic when something happens and then neglect. After a little while, that’s what too often characterizes global health security. All of these efforts will help us tackle other outbreaks happening around the world like monkey pox and other diseases. The health of our people is simply more secure when we’re doing this when we’re working together. And I think we’ve already demonstrated that in the months since the global action plan uh took off. Let me just commend everyone and every country that rose to the challenge and showed leadership across all of these different lines of effort. Our list of partner countries has grown this meeting is actually significantly larger than it was six months ago. That’s also an encouraging sign of the world’s commitment um now again to echo my friend, Foreign Minister, we have to keep going but with even greater urgency, we’re seeing a rise in infections in every region as well as new variants that are more transmissible even as vaccination remains a strong defense against hospitalization and death. Many of you are battling higher infection rates from BA four BA 5. Just as we are in the United States, these variants will continue to threaten us until we vaccinated more people everywhere so we can’t be complacent. We have to continue to marshal attention. We have to continue to marshal commitment To ensure that ending. COVID-19 remains a top focus for our governments and for our citizens and we’ve got to continue to coordinate relentlessly with each other because this is the definition of a challenge that no country can solve alone. We got two months until we all gather at the U. N. General Assembly. So I would just urge that we celebrate our work so that when we meet in new York we have new progress to announce new ideas to discuss new innovations to share again to everyone here today. Thank you for being part of what really is a worthy enterprise on behalf of all of the people of the world. Thank you. Thank you. Minister Hayashi, thank you. Secretary Blinken. I allow like to invite dr Tedros Adhanom Director general of the World Health Organization to make some opening remarks. DR Tedros, please take the floor doctor we don’t hear you Dr Tedros we don’t hear you. The technical team take a look in the issue. Good morning. We are working with him now. Thank you doctor. Can you hear me now? Yes thank you. Okay. No that’s necessary. Can you sign that? Yeah I think I hello? Can you hear me now? We hear you dr Taylor’s please go ahead. Yeah I think the I party is not working for some reason so I will shift into my mobile. I had a plan plan B. So is that clear? Okay so now you meet it again. Please check your mute. Dr Tedros we heard you but we lost you. Maybe you’re mute again. Yeah. Chip I fully conquer with secretary Blinken about the progress. We have we have met and he has outlined all the progress so I don’t want to repeat that. But still the pandemic is not over as he had said and the past few weeks have demonstrated that it’s clearly not over yet. In the past weeks the number of reported weekly cases has doubled, driven by new immigrants have variants. These are also increasing also not at the same rate so far The COVID-19 global action provides a necessary platform for political leadership and engagement today. I seek your support for three key priorities. 1st I seek your continuing commitment to end the pandemic crucially that means focusing on vaccinating all health workers, all older people and all at risk groups On the way to achieving 70% vaccination coverage in all countries. We must also ensure access to tests and new treatments like oral antivirals, which requires urgent funding for the act accelerator. 2nd, I seek your commitment to the development and implementation of a more robust and resilient global architecture for health emergency preparedness and response. Central to this architecture is the need for a new accord or treaty on pandemic preparedness and response, which W. H. O. Member states are continuing to negotiate in Geneva this week. Enhanced financing is also essential, which is why we seek your support for the proposed financial intermediary fund with financial and an interactive leadership from the World Bank and technical leadership from W. H. O. And third, I seek your commitment to a big picture approach to safeguarding health against threats of all kinds. The world faces a dangerous confluence of crisis, including the war in Ukraine, heat waves and wildfires in Europe spiraling inflation and cost of living in many countries and humanitarian crisis in the greater Horn of Africa, the Sahel and elsewhere at the foray at the former Foreign Minister myself. I’m all too aware of the competing demands you face for your attention. The pandemic has demonstrated the centrality of health, to social economic and political stability. I therefore urge you to support the global appeal for health emergency response operations to fund work on the many crisis to which we’re responding around the world. Likewise, I urge you to support the forest coming replenishment of the global fund to support its vital work against the world’s leading infectious killers like malaria. TB HIV Once again, my thanks to you, Minister Hayashi and Secretary Blinken for hosting this critical discussion at this critical time and health and foreign policy as you know, are inextricably linked. We must work together to save lives, protect the future and speed up speed the recovery. Thank you moderator And back to you. Sorry for the glitch because I’m traveling and 20 travels. It’s always difficult in terms of connection. Thank you and back to you. Thank you Dr Tedros for taking your time to join us today. Here we would like to provide a photo opportunity to the press. So please participants turn on your cameras and Stay on for 10 to 15 seconds. Thank you very much for your call. One a few more seconds please.