D-8 Countries move to strengthen synergy against global pandemic

Leadership of the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, comprising Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey, has called for solidarity among member states.

The Secretary-General, Amb. Dato’Ku Jafaar Ku Shaari, said yesterday that the organisation, in a meeting with the leadership of the ministries of health and foreign affairs of the D-8 countries and development partners, resolved that “the battle is for life and survival, not how to keep nations peacefully apart, but how to bring them to act together to support one another.”

According to him, the organisation has collectively resolved to “strengthen solidarity among member countries in efforts to enhance cooperation, identify constraints and bottlenecks in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as support countries to build post-pandemic resilient health systems.”

The statement, signed by the Head, D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme, Dr. Ado Muhammad, and made available to The Guardian in Jalingo, read in part: “The D-8 foresees the attendant effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, as projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to lead to recession far deeper and more devastating than that of 2008. Loss of income worldwide, the aggregate of which is in the region of $3.4 trillion, which will affect billions of people across the world.”

Stressing the need for cooperation and solidarity to secure health and economies of member countries, he added: “It is imperative that we use this sectoral track to support one another to mitigate the consequential adversities we may face.

“We need to improve partnerships, experience sharing and mutual support and assistance.”

Affirming that “the impact of the pandemic varies, with some more negatively impacted than others,” the scale of the economic impact as stated in the release “transcends national frontiers, with loss of jobs and revenues in some of the best performing sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, commerce, agriculture and mineral resources.”

Supporting the secretary-general, Muhammad encouraged solidarity in areas of commodities, technology, equipment, pharmaceuticals and other needed items.

He admonished member countries to put aside their differences by working towards achieving common goals.

“This is a time that requires innovative, decisive and coordinated responses from the member states to secure the lives of our 1.1 billion citizens. We cannot afford to falter at this crucial time,” he added.

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