MIKTA Foreign Ministers’ Joint Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Global Health, 9 April 2020

We, Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia (MIKTA), are deeply saddened by the loss of many lives and the suffering caused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand in full solidarity with each other and the international community as a whole in tackling this unprecedented global threat and building a more resilient future.

We underscore that health is essential for human beings to reach their fullest potential and for nations to achieve a robust and sustainable development and, furthermore, is a cornerstone for the well-being and security of the international community. We will spare no effort to effectively curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against this backdrop, we emphasize the crucial role of relevant international organizations, in particular the World Health Organization (WHO), in coordinating the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the protection of front-line healthcare workers and the delivery of medical supplies, especially diagnostic tools, personal protective equipments, treatments, medicines, and vaccines, in a timely and effective manner. We reaffirm our commitment to implementing the International Health Regulations (2005).

We also encourage relevant international organizations to swiftly and decisively scale up the efforts within their mandates to facilitate the delivery of assistance to all countries in need of help, where health systems may be less able to cope with the pandemic. We emphasize the importance of extending help to groups made more vulnerable by COVID-19, including persons with disabilities, refugees, migrants, IDPs and women and girls, while paying also particular attention to the needs of host communities. In this regard, we welcome the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 launched on 25 March by the United Nations Secretary General.

We welcome the strong solidarity expressed by the Group of 20 (G20) at the recent Extraordinary Virtual Summit and their commitment to enhance policy coordination in the wake of the global health crisis. MIKTA members, together with other G20 countries, will employ all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social damage from the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability, and strengthen resilience, while paying also particular attention to the most affected sectors, including those working in the informal economy as well as small and medium enterprises. We are confident that robust international cooperation galvanized by the G20, will serve to protect human lives and minimize impact on people's livelihood, whilst also preventing any form of discrimination, racism, and xenophobia.

We agree that where emergency measures designed to tackle COVID-19 are necessary, they must comply with international human rights law and be targeted, proportionate, transparent, non-discriminatory and temporary. They should not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and should be consistent with WTO principles and rules. We emphasize the importance of transparency and our commitment to notify the WTO of any trade‑related measures taken, all of which will enable global supply chains to continue to function in this crisis. Noting the need for expediting the recovery of the global economy, we will also work together with the international community to coordinate responses in ways that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. We will take into consideration the need to facilitate the movement of people and goods for humanitarian, scientific and essential business activities to the extent that each country’s disease control efforts may not be undermined.

We recognize that COVID-19 is a new disease that requires a collaborative response, including sharing of information and best practices between nations. We stand ready to share our respective experiences of addressing the pandemic in an open, transparent, and democratic manner. Noting that openness, transparency, and democracy are key factors in bringing people on board with measures designed to protect themselves and the wider population, we will deepen our collaboration to mobilize all innovative tools at our disposal to tackle the pandemic. We will continue to work together with the international community to expedite the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, adhering to the objectives of efficacy, safety, equity, accessibility and affordability, while also cooperating to further strengthen health systems in vulnerable countries.

Sincerely hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be brought under control and having fully realized the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and development, we are strongly committed to working together in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation to promote better preparedness for a future epidemic while swiftly responding to the current one. To this end, we will explore potential ways of cooperation including information-sharing, capacity-building, and technical assistance among us and with other countries. We expect fruitful discussion on our path ahead, including at future MIKTA meetings.

As a cross-regional and new innovative partnership, MIKTA will continue to play a leading role in promoting global health, protecting public goods, and strengthening global governance.