June 29, 2021 – SEOUL, Republic of Korea – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) organized, and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) hosted, the ROK-Australia-ASEAN Vaccine Forum today to discuss cooperation for vaccine security and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forum brought together more than 100 diplomats and public health officials from Korea, Australia, and ASEAN, as well as professionals and experts from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Korea, the National Vaccine Institute of Thailand, and the Centre for Virus Research of Australia.
Through presentations and panel discussions, the parties sought ways of cooperation including information-sharing, increased transparency, and easing of export restrictions to build a vaccine supply network which will allow for accelerated production and distribution of high-quality vaccines.
In his welcoming speech, His Excellency Sungnam Lim, Korean Ambassador to ASEAN, said Korea and ASEAN have been countering challenges posed by the pandemic together, including sharing medical expertise and quarantine know-how. In particular, Ambassador Lim emphasized Korea’s position as a global vaccine hub and to provide contributions to the COVAX Facility as part of the country’s efforts to help ensure universal and equitable distribution of vaccines as global public goods.
His Excellency Will Nankervis, Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, said: “Today is an important forum for deepening cooperation, consultation, and information-sharing between Australia, the Republic of Korea, and our ASEAN partners. We’re in this crisis together, and in the words of our prime minister, a strong, cohesive and responsive ASEAN is vital to the success of the region’s recovery. We really look forward to even closer coordination and cooperation with the Republic of Korea and our ASEAN partners on these efforts.”
His Excellency Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, said: “The Regional Strategic and Action Plan on ASEAN Vaccine Security and Self-Reliance for 2021-2025 was adopted by the ASEAN Health Ministers on May 14, 2021, and is now set to be fully enforced and complement other scaled-up response initiatives on COVID-19 and other emerging health threats.”
Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, said: “It is imperative that we continue the momentum made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen local and regional vaccine manufacturing capacity, encourage vaccine technology transfers to increase supply and technical know-how, strengthen health and data systems for fair and efficient distribution, and commit to vaccine equity. This is how we build a safer future for all – a future we must build together.”
During the first session, “Cooperation for equitable access to COVID-19 Vaccines,” participants engaged in in-depth discussions regarding national vaccination plans, opportunities for cooperation in vaccine production processes, plans for vaccine multilateralism, and related challenges based on their shared understanding that a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic is also a security issue.
Ms. Eui-hae Cecilia Chung, Deputy Director General of MOFA, Republic of Korea, moderated a panel discussion on regional and multilateral vaccine cooperation featuring perspectives from:
In the second session, “Cooperation for Economic Recovery,” participants exchanged views on specific and practical economic cooperation programs while emphasizing that economic recovery from the pandemic must be inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
Mr. Ray Marcelo, First Assistant Secretary of the Southeast Asia Division at DFAT Australia, moderated the second panel discussion on economic recovery strategies for Southeast Asia, featuring:
The ROK-Australia-ASEAN Vaccine Forum was moderated by Dr. Anh Wartel, Deputy Director General at IVI, and provided a valuable opportunity for the Republic of Korea and Australia to seek ways for cooperation with ASEAN in the areas of health and economy.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). IVI has 36 signatory countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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