Participation of the Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN at the virtual briefing on the work of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission New York, April 6, 2021
On April 6, 2021, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion I. Jinga, attended a virtual briefing for ambassadors and diplomats accredited to the UN on the work of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, created in July 2020 to accelerate global, equitable, and lasting solutions to the pandemic. The event was hosted by the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN, Ambassador Guillermo Fernandez de Soto Valderrama and Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development, President of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission.
The briefers were Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Maria Elena Bottazzi, Associate Dean of Baylor College of Medicine, University of Hudson, Texas, Joseph Allen, Associate professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public health, Felipe Larrain, Professor of Economics at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and Former Minister of Finance of Chile and Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Former President of the UN General Assembly and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense of Ecuador.
Discussions focused on the overview of the current state of the pandemic and updates on key challenges – universal access to vaccines and therapeutics; safe work, schools and travel; global financial and fiscal implications; global diplomacy – and allowed an open dialogue between Lancet Commissioners and UN Permanent Representatives.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of Romania noted: “Being the result of global interconnectivity, the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic can only be managed by taking advantage of global interconnectivity: coordinating response policies, maximizing the benefits of membership in various international organizations, exchanging information and good practices, distributing vaccines and treatments on a large scale, technological cooperation. At the heart of our efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic must be the trust in our institutions, in our governments, in our international partners and interlocutors. The lack of trust undermines public health responses, threaten social cohesion, incite to violence and conflict and fuel misinformation. More trust means more cooperation and less conflict.”
The Romanian diplomat expressed the opinion that diplomacy remains central to these demarches: “This crisis will hopefully end soon, but there is no doubt that it will affect us on a longer term. The digital revolution and the use of disruptive technologies are now part of people’s daily life, and the future will rely more and more on connectivity, fluid networks and collaboration. As practitioners of international relations, diplomats have the fundamental duty of representing the interests of their countries. Everywhere in the world people compete, establish hierarchies of power and seek prestige; at the same time, the mankind has generated an unprecedented situation: around the world, natural resources are overexploited, at a massive cost to the environment, putting at risk the future of next generations. Therefore, global diplomacy must be based on a collective duty of reason. First, we must be aware that our actions have the capacity to affect the entire planet. Second, we must mitigate the potential for conflict which results from the so-called Tragedy of the Global Commons. Third, no matter how we modify global governance structures, our overall objective must be sustainability. And fourth, we must base our actions on rigorous data; scientific truth does not disappear when we don’t look at it – on the contrary, its consequences become more acute.”
Ambassador Jinga underlined that: “Joining the international efforts to find solutions to these global issues, on 7 April 2021, on World Health Day, the President of Romania, HE Mr. Klaus Werner Iohannis, hosts in Bucharest an event organized together with the World Health Organization on “Climate Change, People – Nature Relationship and Public Health”, with the goal to generate debates on the effects of climate change on the public health, the relationship between environmental degradation and the occurrence of pandemics, as well as measures to strengthen the resilience of the Romanian health system to these challenges.”