Remarks of the Resident Coordinator in Thailand for webinar 'Preparing to recover and moving towards a new Normal with Republic of Korea'

The remarks of the Resident Coordinator to open the webinar 'Preparing to recover and moving towards a new Normal with Republic of Korea' on June 25, 2020.

The UN has collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand to convene today’s webinar on ‘Preparing to Recover and Moving Towards a New Normal’. We will better understand the approach to recovery, the associated challenges with balancing the re-opening of businesses and the lesson’s learned from the Republic of Korea. 

In addition to Lori’s welcome, it is my honor to personally welcome the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Soonthorn Chaiyindeepum, who will share insights on Thailand’s experience on combating the pandemic. I would also like to welcome Dr. Chawetsan Namwat, Director, Department of Disease Control, MoPH, who will step in to share his perspective after the presentations.

I also warmly welcome our Guest Speakers from the Republic of Korea – Mr. Dae Joong Lee, Director, Ministry of Economy and Finance and Mr Wang-Jun Lee, Chairman and CEO of the Myoungji Hospital. We thank you for your time and look forward to hearing your insights and drawing lessons to share. 

From the perspective of the UN, I would like to highlight that the Secretary General set the tone for UN’s response when he said that Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity is critical for dealing with the pandemic. He also emphasised the imperative of a whole of society and whole of government response, which both Thailand and Korea have demonstrated in many ways. The role of the one million health volunteers in identifying, tracing, and coordinating with the health system in Thailand and the technology led model to tracing in Korea, are proxy indicators that speak to this approach. I am sure, the speakers today, will reflect on the comprehensive response that has been led through robust leadership of the government to control the epidemic and remain agile as restrictions are lifted.  

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise, and sincerely thank, the Royal Thai Government for their contribution to the United Nations' Covid-19 Multi-Partner Trust Fund, that has just been announced, which speaks so positively to this shared responsibility.

As the UN RC, my priority has been to seize the disruption created by COVID-19 to reposition the UN response in country to be cutting edge, forward leaning and offering thought leadership to sustain the development gains made, and build back better. The WHO has been sharing information with MoPH on key global developments, guidelines, and scientific updates, with a focus on saving lives. The UN has also undertaken comprehensive socio-economic impact assessments targeted at multiple sectors of society and  economy. In partnership with the MoPH and FB the UN continues to amplify messaging on risk communication and metal wellbeing reaching over 14 million viewers. We are also supporting the government to monitor the impact of its fiscal stimulus package targeted at building back local economies. Guided by the principle of leaving no one behind, the UN is also looking to offer TA to scale up ICT enabled e-learning platforms for schools in partnership with the RTG.   

Before I hand it over to Lori, let me say that I am really looking forward to hearing from our speakers and drawing out some of the key transferable lessons that will help both Thailand and Korea, and the region, in recovering from the pandemic.  

Gita Sabharwal
Resident Coordinator
Ms Gita Sabharwal
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