By Ndidichukwu Odoh
As the world battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its huge disruption to livelihood, economy and health systems, the Developing-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation has intensified solidarity and cooperation among its Member States in efforts to identify constraints and bottlenecks in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to develop a mechanism to build post pandemic resilient health systems.
The Secretary General of the D-8, Ambassador Dato’Ku Jafaar Ku Shaari, while addressing the heads and delegations of the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the D-8 Member States and development partners that met on Thursday 16th April, 2020 said that the D-8 Member States have to use the D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme to support one another in these trying times.
The prime objective of the virtual roundtable meeting co-organized by the D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme office (D-8 HSP) and the Chatham House is to come-up with a mechanism for cooperation in order to lessen the hardship caused by the pandemic through knowledge and resources sharing as well as understanding of country specific needs. During the meeting the D-8 Member States reviewed the country’s contexts and impact of the pandemic, and shared some ideas and innovative solutions implemented by them in line with global best practices.
The meeting also evaluated the consequential adversities of the COVID-19 pandemic, as projected by the IMF. The pandemic is expected to lead to global recession far deeper and more devastating than that of 2008 economic meltdown. It will also result in loss of income worldwide, the aggregate of which is in the region of 3.4 trillion USD, which will affect billions of people across the world. Hence, the compelling need for cooperation and solidarity in order to secure lives of citizens and economies of the Member States.
“It is imperative that we use this sectoral track to support one another in order to mitigate the consequential adversities we face. We need to improve partnerships, experience sharing and mutual support and assistance” said the Secretary General .
Ambassador Ku’Jafaar also said that “the impact of the pandemic varies, with some more negatively impacted than others. However, the scale of the economic impact transcends national frontiers, with loss of jobs and revenues in some of the best performing sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, commerce, agriculture and mineral resources”
The Programme Director of D-8 HSP, Dr. Ado Muhammad called for solidarity in areas of commodities, technology, equipment, pharmaceuticals and other needed items.
This is a time that requires innovative, decisive and coordinated responses from the Member States in order to secure the lives of 1.1 billion citizens. The D-8 cannot afford to falter at this crucial time..
As a result of the productive discussions at the virtual meeting, two working groups have emerged: Implementation Monitoring Group- to provide weekly updates and recommendations for a data driven programme that comprises of Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Nigeria; and the Resource Mobilization Group- to articulate strategies and recommendations for domestic resourcing by countries that is to be done by Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The D-8 further plans to host a meeting of the D-8 Ministers of Health on the sidelines of the 2020 World Health Assembly.
The meeting also decided to establish a separate working group to commence assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the national economies of the Member States-disaggregate data on GDP, Employment and poverty.
For on-the-spot updates on the COVID-19 Pandemic in the D-8 Countries follow @D8HSP on twitter or click https://maps.isc.gov.ir/covid19/#/d8