Kuwait urges int’l cooperation to fight COVID-19

KUWAIT: Kuwait has stressed the significance of cooperation and coordination via the international multilateral system and regional and international organizations to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This remark was made by Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi in a written address during a discussion on the pandemics and security.

He said the world is living in unprecedented times as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses a transboundary threat and has been able to impact all aspects of our lives – health, economic, social and political – and has led to the death of half a million people and infected 10 million more all over the world.

This pandemic is – as described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations – the biggest challenge facing the world since World War II, he said. It is also a living example of the close links between pandemics and security. “This requires all of us to join efforts to confront epidemics and global health crises and limit their harsh impact, through cooperation and coordination via the international multilateral system and regional and international organizations. A global crisis like this requires global solutions,” he added. Otaibi went on saying: “We have all witnessed the Secretary-General’s historic appeal on 23 March 2020 for a global ceasefire in areas where armed conflicts are taking place in order to focus together on the real battle in our lives facing COVID-19.”

Mobilizing efforts

“We have seen some other initiatives that were aimed at mobilizing international efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, and to reduce its effects on societies and people, especially the most vulnerable such as women, children, people with special needs, and displaced persons, but there is still more that can be done in this regard,” the Kuwaiti diplomat said. “The world needs more serious and decisive stances. Here, we welcome the adoption of resolution 2532 by the Security Council on this global health crisis that we believe constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and we note that the Council has previously had clear positions on other health crises, such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS. I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of Tunisia and France in the past few months to issue a Council resolution on COVID-19,” he noted.

He emphasized that the effects of this pandemic are expected to touch many of the issues discussed in the United Nations in general, and the Security Council in particular. “On the humanitarian front, we are witnessing that the humanitarian situation has started to deteriorate in a number of conflict-stricken areas and those that suffer from fragile health systems as a result of years of wars and destruction,” he said. Likewise, the spread of this virus will have economic and social effects that may reverse the development gains that some countries have achieved, which may exacerbate the root causes of armed conflicts, such as unemployment, poverty, inequality and competition for natural resources, he added.

Political repercussions

On the other hand, there is no doubt that this pandemic may have repercussions at the political level related to the ability and efficiency of countries and governments to respond effectively to limit its spread and provide the necessary medical care to those in need. “In addition, we see that this pandemic has complicated the way forward for political processes in some conflict areas. Faced with these impacts caused by COVID-19, we urgently need collective and joint action, to unite efforts and visions in order to overcome this deadly disease, by utilizing all the tools we have at our disposal, mobilizing the energies of experts, scientists and specialists to find a vaccine and ensure equitable distribution of it, especially in developing countries,” Otaibi said.

He also underlined the need to work to build the health capabilities of vulnerable countries and societies, provide medical and preventive supplies and equipment to enable the health systems around the world to face this pandemic, ensure continued delivery of humanitarian aid in light of the pandemic’s spread to those in need in areas of conflict and natural disasters, and strengthen conflict-prevention measures.

However, he admitted that it is difficult to achieve these goals without a comprehensive and effective system of multilateralism that contributes to coordinating the efforts of the entire United Nations system, regional organizations, international financial institutions and other multilateral entities, to overcome the most difficult common challenge facing our world today. He continued to say that since the outbreak of this pandemic, the State of Kuwait has been working as part of the international efforts to confront COVID-19.

On more than one occasion, it has expressed its full support for the appeal of the United Nations Secretary-General for a global ceasefire, and participated in various regional and international meetings related to combating this pandemic. “To date, the State of Kuwait has provided $100 million to support global efforts to combat the virus. I renew the commitment of the State of Kuwait to support all international efforts aimed at preserving human life, protecting people’s health, and overcoming COVID-19,” he added. The Kuwaiti diplomat concluded by thanking and appreciating all health professionals around the world and front-line responders for their noble and courageous efforts to confront COVID-19. – KUNA