SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the International Well being Safety and Diplomacy Symposium. A particular because of the Council on Overseas Relations, and to my longtime colleague and good buddy, Michael Froman, for co-hosting right now’s occasion.
And to our companions from throughout different governments, civil society, and the personal sector: Thanks for becoming a member of us right now.
All of us now know the profound dangers of a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 took the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals. It upended these of lots of of hundreds of thousands extra. It devasted economies. And all of us now know that there’s just one approach to improve international well being safety: collectively.
Certainly, as a result of we labored collectively – via a coalition of 32 nations, the African Union, the European Union, the World Well being Group, alongside civil society and personal sector companions from world wide – we have been capable of lead a worldwide response that helped the world emerge from the acute part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
America has lengthy been dedicated to utilizing the facility of our diplomacy to strengthen international well being safety – to work to eradicate illnesses like malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera; to include outbreaks just like the swine flu, Ebola, and Zika.
And we’ve directed one of many United States’ most transformational international help initiatives: the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Aid, created by President Bush, sustained via 4 administrations with bipartisan assist. PEPFAR has helped save greater than 25 million lives, and created a lot of the well being infrastructure used to fight different outbreaks ever since, together with COVID-19.
At this time, the State Division is concentrated on main the cost to make sure the worldwide group is prepared for the subsequent well being risk when it comes. That’s why we labored with Congress to create the State Division’s Bureau of International Well being Safety and Diplomacy. Over the previous a number of months, below the management of Ambassador John Nkengasong, our new bureau has been onerous at work bringing the facility and function of American diplomacy to that pressing mission.
Let me let you know about only a few of the issues we’ve been as much as.
First, we’re making use of PEPFAR’s many classes – as an illustration, on tips on how to successfully observe outbreaks and ship medicines to hard-to-reach populations – throughout our broader well being safety efforts, at the same time as we proceed to prioritize its life-saving work on HIV/AIDS.
We’re additionally increasing PEPFAR’s attain to extra successfully forestall the illness and serve these dwelling with it. One of many methods we’re doing that is by growing our collaboration with regional our bodies, just like the Africa Centres for Illness Management and Prevention, the Pan American Well being Group, and serving to construct up regional manufacturing capabilities in nations, together with Senegal and South Africa. We’re doing this in order that nations can extra shortly produce and distribute remedies, exams, protecting gear, and change into much less reliant on – and weak to – international provide.
It’s important that PEPFAR’s work proceed, and I look ahead to working with our colleagues in Congress to safe a clear, five-year reauthorization.
Second, we’re rallying worldwide assist for the World Financial institution’s Pandemic Fund, which can assist us reply to future well being threats. Already, the fund is endeavor important work to construct up regional illness surveillance networks, create early warning techniques, and increase public well being workforces world wide.
Because the fund’s launch a yr in the past, america has contributed $450 million – a few quarter of its whole contributions up to now – and we’ll proceed to work with companions to mobilize extra assist.
Third, we’re strengthening our international well being safety infrastructure for the lengthy haul by serving to modernize present establishments, just like the World Well being Group.
We’re working alongside different WHO members to amend the Worldwide Well being Laws, to barter a Pandemic Accord, and to take different steps to make sure that we are able to deal with future well being threats with velocity, coordination, transparency, and fairness.
And there’s extra that we’re doing: creating common alternatives for international ministers to satisfy and coordinate efforts, constructing higher well being experience all through our personal diplomatic corps right here in Washington and in posts world wide, weaving collectively and updating partnerships to sort out rising well being threats – as we’ll do subsequent month in Dubai, the place ministers will meet to debate points on the intersection of well being and local weather at COP28 – for instance, the rising dangers posed by extra frequent excessive climate occasions.
At this time – and within the days, weeks, and months forward – we are going to look to all of you on your concepts, views, and partnerships. As a result of provided that we work collectively can we construct a extra wholesome, protected, and safe world for all.
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