Opening remarks Beijing International Conference for Public Health Cooperation
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Opening remarks

Beijing International Conference for Public Health Cooperation

By Dr Erasmus Morah, Director, UNAIDS Office in China

2 September 2023, Beijing




Mr. JIN Wei, Vice Mayor of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality

Mr. Lei Haichao, Vice-minister of the National Health Commission, People’s Republic of China

Mr. REN Minghui, Former Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization


Ladies and gentlemen,


Good afternoon!


Let me start by saying that China never stops amaze, especially when you get the privilege to come closer!


I have been told that the venue of this conference – Beijing Shougang Park was transformed from a steel factory. I can see that – the giant chimney towers are still standing out there. I was also told that the same factory was turned into the ski jumping venue for the famous Beijing Winter Olympics. And now that same factory has been transformed yet again into this giant park for people to have leisure time and to host international conferences such as this. Bravo to the People’s Republic of China.


One almost needs no further proof of China’s ingenuity and innovative power for sustainability and adaptation. Where we are standing now speaks volume and fits perfectly with the theme of this conference. Up-cycling, not recycling!!


I believe you will agree with me that to pursue a new, innovative pattern for health, we need to look back at what we’ve gone through – what we have achieved and what we have failed to achieve. This is one area that UNAIDS has a lot to share with China and the rest of the world, because the HIV epidemic has been one of the biggest challenges to human health in the past 40 years and UNAIDS has inspired and led the global efforts to halt and reverse the pandemic.


The number one experience that UNAIDS can share with abundance of confidence is putting the people and communities concerned at the center. This is fundamental for the global health agenda and achieving the UN SDGs. I can tell you that this principle has contributed enormously to the amazing global success in HIV control, most notably in the following six areas:

· Strong political commitment and good governance arrangements

· Effective service delivery and a competent health workforce

· A well-functioning health information system

· Sustainable health financing

· Community-led response

· Public and private partnership for equitable access to essential medical products and technologies


As the second largest economy in the world, China is in an unparalleled position to build strong partnership and South-South collaboration. Just last week, with the participation of UNAIDS, China CDC organized the 7th South-South Collaboration Workshop on AIDS, invited 7 countries from Asia and Africa to share the experience in the AIDS response. UNAIDS, jointly with the ILO and China’s International Travel Health Association, developed a training course to prepare Chinese companies to be HIV-compliant when going overseas.


My colleagues from UNICEF also recognizes the Government of China’s potential as a leading development partner and promoter of South-South Cooperation on humanitarian assistance, health, nutrition, and Water, sanitation and hygiene, for children.  Since 2017, UNICEF China has implemented 19 Global Development and South-South Cooperation projects in 17 countries. These projects supported by China have delivered concrete results and made an important difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families.


Now, what can UNAIDS offer in the process today? How can UNAIDS and Cosponsors of UNAIDS, including WHO and UNICEF, do today to promote public-private-partnership that leverages China’s production power and market forces to contribute to global health? According to International Finance Corporation, as of 2019, 70 to 90 percent of the drugs consumed in Sub-Saharan Africa were imported. There were roughly 375 pharmaceutical manufacturers in Africa compared to about 5,000 in China. In 2021, China also ranked as the largest supplier to UNICEF, with USD 1302.2 million procurement from China market.


I think you know where I’m getting at. Yes, China can transfer technology to Africa and build its capacity of local production of health medicines and commodities including HIV medicines, testing kits, condoms, and male circumcision devices.


UNAIDS can facilitate this process and have taken solid actions to push this forward. We have collaborated with our counterparts to develop a market analysis on African pharmaceutical markets; we enabled mutual visits of health experts from China and Africa for knowledge sharing; we along with WHO, UNIDO , UNICEF and UNFPA had strategic discussions with governments, African Ambassadors to China, African Union Commission, including the African CDCs and African Medicines Agency to forge a tripartite UN-China-AU collaboration.


All the work has laid a good foundation for more progress in local production to come. With the UN-wide engagement, China’s leadership in South-South Cooperation and powerful platforms such as FOCAC, we have the reason to believe we can end AIDS, achieve better preparedness for future pandemics and realize health for all.


I look forward to hearing what other guest speakers say about this topic and collaborating with you in our shared goal of ending AIDS and achieving SDGs.


On behalf UNAIDS and the UN family of agencies working on AIDS, I thank you for this privileged invitation and wish the organizers of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services a huge success.


Thank you!