Statement by Prime Minister of Nepal Rt. Hon. Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at the High- Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly On ‘Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response’
New York, 20 September 2023
Theme: Making the world safer: Creating and maintaining political momentum and solidarity for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response
Mr. Secretary General,
I thank you, Mr. President, for convening this High-Level Meeting.
The world is still struggling to cope with the upsets caused by one of the deadliest pandemics in history- the COVID-19.
The far-reaching impacts of the pandemic are sure to remain for quite a long time.
The world lost too many lives. Our societies were disrupted, and economies distressed.
Despite the unprecedented developments in the field of science and technology, the pandemic exposed the fragile nature of the international health system.
Serious shortcomings were visible in preparedness for timely and effective prevention of and response to potential health emergencies.
For the most vulnerable and resource-constrained countries, including LDCs, the burden was even more severe. These countries were unable to enact effective response, due to the limitations in resource base, in social protection and in health systems.
Now, the world is moving ahead in the phase of post-pandemic recovery and revival. But the road to recovery is not uniform. While the developed countries have largely returned to the pre-pandemic growth paths, the poorer ones are struggling hard to catch up with the pace.
This warrants that we need to be better prepared for future disasters and pandemics.
We need to work in solidarity together with matching provision of more financial and human resources commensurate with the scale and magnitude of the crises.
Nepal is effortful to strengthen its public health architecture.
Increased investments in health infrastructure made during the pandemic have augmented our national capacity.
We are now better equipped to handle possible health emergencies than we were at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have reinforced our national Health Emergency Operation Centre and ensured that it is automatically operationalized during such emergencies.
We have also established similar mechanisms at the local and provincial levels for coordinated and integrated action.
Having said this, however, we need enhanced level of international support measures to complement our national efforts.
Multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral, and the whole of society approach to pandemic prevention and response is necessary.
We need a robust, resilient, and effective global health architecture for health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience.
To that end, we must make earnest endeavors to revitalize the World Health Organization and make it more capable and responsive.
The most vulnerable countries such as LDCs must be ensured easy and affordable access to finance.
International support for national capacity building as well as for research and development in these countries should be prioritized.
We must better frame the future of collaborative partnership, with furthest behind first at the core.
To conclude, the post-pandemic times provide us with a window of opportunity to reset our priorities and rebuild better.
The Political Declaration adopted a while ago guides us in the right direction to prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics.
We must now ensure real, robust, and responsible actions.
We must work together to build a resilient future for our children and grandchildren.
Thank you for your attention.