2nd World Bio Summit Opening Ceremony - Fatima Yasmin

12 Dec 2023

Welcome remarks by Fatima Yasmin, ADB Vice-President (Sectors and Themes), at the 2nd World Bio Summit opening ceremony, 20 November 2023, Republic of Korea

Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to everyone.

Let me congratulate the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and the World Health Organization for convening Second World Bio Summit to enhance pandemic response capacities. This is such an important summit; I wish I could join you all in-person today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us why we need a strong, coordinated system to respond to pandemics. It has also showed that coordinated efforts must work in all countries as well as at the regional and global levels.

ADB played a major role during the COVID-19 pandemic in providing vaccines and strengthening vaccine delivery systems in Asia and the Pacific. In close collaboration with partners, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; UNICEF; and WHO, we utilized nearly $6.4 billion in procuring COVID-19 vaccines through our Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.

We formed the Regional Vaccine Advisory Group, composed of 12 national regulators, to help overcome regulatory bottlenecks in procuring vaccines. We worked with the Republic of Korea to train 90 people from across Asia to build vaccine manufacturing expertise.

ADB also generated cutting edge knowledge to address future pandemics. Our recent innovative workshop “Fit-for Purpose Vaccine Technologies: The Amalgamation of Science, Policy, and Practice” with academia, government, and industry has driven new collaborations to fight pandemics. Our support to India’s G20 Presidency is strengthening collaboration among the world's leading Centers for Disease Control for more having effective pandemic responses. We are committed to enhance vaccine security through a flagship project in Bangladesh to strengthen domestic vaccine manufacturing and regulatory systems that also examines how to decarbonize medical supply chains.

Colleagues, as we prepare for the future, let me highlight two urgent needs.

First, there is a significant gap in regulatory capabilities across many countries. Regulatory oversight plays a pivotal role in ensuring quality manufacturing and access of medical countermeasures to pandemics.  Only around 30% of all National Regulatory Authorities globally have the capacity to carry out essential regulatory functions. The situation is even worse in Asia and the Pacific.

Second, climate change is our biggest health threat. The health sector urgently needs to reduce its contribution to climate change. The combined emissions of the health sector are over 5% of global emissions.

Climate change is exposing existing vulnerabilities in society. Resilience is no longer just about bouncing back from the pandemic. It is also about building preparedness for even bigger disruptions to come. This is where pandemic and climate resilience converges. In building our resilience to pandemics, we must consider decarbonizing medical facilities, manufacturing, and supply chains, and reassess models of healthcare delivery.

Colleagues, these are huge challenges. But let us act boldly together to protect the lives of the people we serve. We are at a critical juncture with a unique opportunity to pursue a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery. We must be smart, we must be fast, and we must be transformational.

Thank you, and again, welcome to the Second World Bio Summit.

WORLD BIO SUMMIT 2023 Secretariat


@Copyright WORLD BIO SUMMIT 2023. All Right Reserved.