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Last updated: 8th February 2023

Remarks of the Hon’ble Foreign Minister in the Covid-19 Global Action Plan (GAP) Foreign Ministerial

(Virtual, 8 February 2023)




Distinguished participants

Ladies and Gentlemen


I thank the Secretary of State Antony Blinken for convening this final Foreign Ministerial virtual Global Action Plan (GAP) meeting as Covid is no longer a deadly threat. I commend Secretary Blinken and the US Government for taking this initiative at a time when it was urgently needed. I also thank the partners of this platform.  I also express my deepest condolences for those that perished due to devastating earthquakes.


Distinguished Participants,

2.   Most significant learning of this pandemic was that although ‘health security’is national security it has global implications and ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’. Therefore, it warrants concerted global efforts and partnership. I am really happy to see that the multilateral processes, including initiatives like ACT-A and COVAX under the umbrella of WHO played phenomenal role in combatting this pandemic. However, we should not be complacent. Rather, taking lessons from this pandemic, we need to create a global health strategy to respond to such future threats immediately, decisively and in a coordinated way. We need to expand significantly the capacity of our healthcare sector; and for that we would require a sustained and significant injection of fund for such capacity building, particularly in the lower income countries.



3.   Vaccines remained the main tool to fight the pandemic and it will remain so in future. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach all countries equitably and on time, which prolonged the pandemic and increased loss of lives. I reiterate that vaccines should be declared global public goods and distributed without discrimination. I also urge to the developed countries to allow countries like Bangladesh that has relatively advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing base to manufacture vaccines through appropriate provisions in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Technology Transfer.



4.   In Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we have made tremendous success in covid management. We focused on saving lives, while supporting livelihoods- especially of the most vulnerable ones, and posting quick economic recovery. We formed coordination committees across all administrative tiers in the government. We rapidly scaled up cold chain system, beefed up oxygen supply, rapidly increased hospital beds and conducted community-wide confidence building campaigns among many other measures. Strong political will, targeted approach, and digitization of the vaccination process contributed to our success.

5.   After achieving WHO target of vaccinating 70% of the population ahead of the deadline, we are on course to reach 90%. We thank USA for being the largest donor of vaccines to my country under COVAX.

6.   We introduced 28 financial and incentive packages worth 23 billion US dollars (close to 6% of our GDP) and ensured their effective and inclusive implementation. As a result, our economic growth sustained and we achieved 6.94% GDP growth rate even under Covid-19. Now Covid is out. The way our public health system responded towards mass vaccination and hospital-care resulting in low death can be a lesson to many and we are open to share our experience.

7.   As the work on Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) would be in focus in the coming days to combat any such future threat; we need to continue to cooperate bilaterally, regionally and globally. We may need to keep platforms like GAP functioning in some way or other and we are always ready to contribute.

8.   I appreciate the idea of organizing 'Covid-19 Pandemic Summit' to remember that the world had to witness and handle a big global crisis all on a sudden. And, we, the international community stood together to address such an emergency health situation to ensure greater global good.

I thank you all.