Muscat, The Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted today a high-level virtual meeting on health security and peace in the context of the COVID-19.
Dr. Ahmed Mohammed al-Sa’eedi, Minister of Health chaired the meeting with wide participation of a number of Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) countries along with officials from the WHO and the United Nations Secretariat.
Dr. Ahmed gave a speech in which he stressed on
the need for more efforts to achieve cooperation and solidarity for peacekeeping, especially in the Middle East region, pointing out to the importance of working with the counterparts in Switzerland to call for the Global Health for Peace Initiative (GHPI).
He said, “the Covid-19 pandemic spared no country, and our region has experienced an even more intense blow, where countries are not only facing the pandemic, but nearly two thirds of them are suffering different kinds of humanitarian emergencies, including political conflicts, environmental threats, and other natural disasters, all of which bear profound adverse impacts on health, peace, development, and security, both in the immediate- and long-terms. However, the silver lining has been the global recognition of the need to maintain health as priority for everyone everywhere. The pandemic demonstrated that the health of one affects the social well-being and quality of life of all, and that health has a reciprocal influence on the economy and on development, and consequently has a direct impact on peace and security.”
He added, “The GHPI aims at promoting concrete action along strategic directions such as, pushing for diplomacy to promote peace across lines and borders in conflicts and emergency-affected countries and utilizing the acceptance and neutrality of health and health workers to bring together professionals from different conflict groups to focus on common needs and interests.”
Dr. Ahmed also stressed the importance of turning Covid-19 challenges into opportunities to reach more solutions that would enhance peace and health security opportunities.
On his turn, Sayyid Badr Hamad al-Busaidi, Foreign Minister said that the Sultanate’s stance has become more widely known in the promotion of dialogue, multilateralism, inclusivity, and pragmatism. He affirmed that these are qualities that continue to characterize Omani diplomacy today. Sayyid Badr pointed out that promoting health security and collaboration in the health sector can be also fostered by the same aforesaid qualities.
He further added: “However, at the present time, we mustn’t forget the plight of the Palestinian people and we are concerned deeply by the events in those occupied territories of Palestine and the actions committed by Israel against the people of Palestine.”
The meeting, which convened for the first time at the initiative of the Sultanate, aimed to promote the experience-exchange and dialogue on the ongoing collaboration in health in light of the COVID-19 response and encourage further cooperation. It was also an opportunity to shed light on the great potential of using the neutral nature of health as a bridge for peace, and subsequently health cooperation as a contributor to ensuring health security.
Furthermore, the meeting highlighted the potential of expanding cooperation in health, especially within the context of COVID-19, as a tool to cement international solidarity, stability, and peace.
The meeting addressed a number of related issues such as successful health interventions in peacebuilding, ongoing collaboration efforts in the EMR that can be built upon to contribute to the region’s stability, strengthening regional capacity in manufacturing medicine and health products (including vaccines) and exploring how international collaboration could support this.
The meeting also touched upon supporting the existing regional and international collaboration platforms and organizations in the region, including the WHO, in order to contribute effectively to the regional solidarity and collaboration in health.
Source: Oman News Agency