March 27, 2023 – SEOUL, Republic of Korea – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), an international organization with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health, hosted a ceremony at its headquarters in Seoul today in recognition of the Republic of Panama ratifying IVI’s establishment treaty and becoming a State Party. The Ambassador of Panama to the Republic of Korea, H.E. Athanasio Kosmas Sifaki, raised the flag of Panama during the ratification ceremony.
Panama’s Minister of Health, H.E. Luis Francisco Sucre, shared his congratulatory remarks through a video message and H.E. Jae Wook Choi from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the ceremony as a representative of IVI’s first host country. Diplomats of Latin American countries attended the ceremony as well, including the ambassadors and chargés d’affaires of the embassies of Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.
George Bickerstaff, Chairperson of IVI’s Board of Trustees, said: “We are grateful for this meaningful decision by the Government of Panama to fully join IVI, demonstrating Panama’s sustained commitment to advancing the development of vaccines for use in global public health and opening the opportunity to incorporate Panama’s experience and expertise in our shared effort to rid the world of infectious diseases.”
H.E. Luis Francisco Sucre, Minister of Health of the Republic of Panama, said: “Today, we are pleased to have successfully completed the steps to join this project, which will allow Panama and the region to continue contributing to science, research, and capacity-building in order to protect health as a human right. We would like to take this opportunity to ratify our country’s commitment to the founding principles that gave rise to IVI.”
Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, said: “Today, we proudly welcome Panama as a State Party of IVI. In addition to our ongoing collaborative efforts to develop a safe, effective, and affordable chikungunya vaccine, I am certain our renewed partnership will generate opportunities for further infectious disease research, vaccine clinical development, and related activities to advance public health in Panama, Latin America, and beyond.”
H.E. Athanasio Kosmas Sifaki, Ambassador of Panama to the Republic of Korea, said: “Today, we take an important step in completing our formal adherence to this very important project that will allow us to contribute to the science of effective research, development, and delivery of vaccines for local, regional, and global levels, giving the benefit of health to everyone. Today, we ratify our commitment to the fundamental principles that have given drive and dynamism to this institute, a commitment that the Republic of Panama together with IVI reinforces and attests to the importance of saving lives.”
Panama is a founding signatory to IVI’s Establishment Agreement, the 1996 UN treaty that established IVI as an independent international organization. The IVI Agreement remains open for accession by any state or intergovernmental organization.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.
IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is currently under assessment for WHO PQ.
IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland provide state funding. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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