Press Releases

Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu co-hosted Ministerial Meeting
of Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

October 8, 2020
Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu co-hosted Ministerial Meeting of Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 1
Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu co-hosted Ministerial Meeting of Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 2
On October 8, commencing at around 9:00 p.m., Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan co-hosted the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in virtual form. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. At the beginning of the meeting, Minister MOTEGI emphasized that achieving UHC, aiming at “leaving no one's health behind” and based on the principle of “human security”, is necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister MOTEGI outlined three pillars of Japan's cooperation: 1) developing the countries’ capacity to tackle COVID-19, including ensuring equitable access to vaccines, 2) strengthening health systems in preparation against future health crises, and 3) generating an enabling environment for health security. Minister MOTEGI explained that Japan will continue to promote UHC and proactively lead international efforts with a focus on the above together with the international community.

2. In the meeting, Minister MOTEGI announced that Japan will contribute more than 130 million USD to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), in order to enable countries to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This contribution is a part of Japan's pledge of 300 million USD which was announced at the Global Vaccine Summit in June 2020.

3. The attendees of the meeting included H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand; H.E. Mr. David Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; H.E.Ms. Raychelle Awuor Omamo, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya; H.E. Mr. Amadou BA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal; the Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health of Ghana; H.E. Mr. Daniel Salinas Grecco, Minister of Public Health of Uruguay; H.E. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India; Mr. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France; Ms. Wendy Morton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development of UK; Ms. Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development of EU; Dr.Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of WHO; Ms. Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF; Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of Gavi; Dr. Richard Hatchett, Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; and other representatives from private sector and civil society.

The speakers reiterated the significance of global and society-wide cooperation and solidarity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also extended their appreciation to Japan's leading role and initiatives in promoting UHC, and particularly Japan's announcement of its contribution to the COVAX AMC.

4. The meeting was held to accelerate the momentum to promote and achieve UHC in the global community, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the adoption of the UHC Political Declaration on the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), recognized as the most comprehensive international agreement on health.

[Note] Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
UHC means ensuring affordable access to high-quality health services for all people whenever they need them throughout their lives without suffering financial hardship.

[Note] The Group of Friends of UHC
The Group of Friends of UHC was established in December 2018 at the proposal of Japan. The purpose of the Group of Friends is to serve as an informal platform for UN Member States to build global momentum towards achieving UHC by 2030, as stated in the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, as well as in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Group consists of 64 member countries / areas. Thailand, Georgia and Japan are currently co-chair of the Group.

[Note] COVAXi Advance Market Commitment (GOVAX AMC)
COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO). COVAX is co-led by Gavi (The Vaccine Alliance), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed. The COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) is to ensure that the 92 middle- and lower-income countries that cannot fully afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines themselves get the same access to COVID-19 vaccines as higher-income self-financing countries and at the same time.

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