S. Korea, 10 other countries launch pandemic cooperation group at UNESCO

SEOUL– South Korea and 10 other countries launched a group at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday to promote cooperation against discrimination and other social challenges stemming from the new coronavirus, the foreign ministry said.

Seoul led the effort to establish the Group of Friends for Solidarity and Inclusion with Global Citizenship Education (GCED) after the launch of similar groups at the United Nations on May 12 and the World Health Organization last Wednesday.

The launch came as Seoul has been striving to share with the world its know-how and experience in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of growing global recognition for its containment strategy.

Founding members of the UNESCO group held a videoconference to discuss joint efforts to address hatred against foreigners and other problems that have arisen during coronavirus outbreaks.

The inaugural member states are South Korea, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Serbia and Senegal.

“Our Group of Friends will serve as a platform for solidarity and inclusion to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and beyond,” the group said in a joint statement adopted in the videoconference.

“The Group of Friends will focus on raising a strong voice against hate, discrimination and stigmatization in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote GCED for international cooperation in the post-pandemic world,” it added.

In her congratulatory remarks, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said that hatred against foreigners and discrimination erodes the foundation of human rights and hinders efforts to stem the pandemic, while stressing the importance of world civil education.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry and the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) held a video-linked meeting with Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to share South Korea’s experience in battling the COVID-19 scourge.

It is the first videoconference that South Korea has had with a key African regional institution.

In the session, Seoul officials explained the country’s anti-virus strategy that features its cutting-edge information technologies and citizens’ social distancing efforts under the principles of “openness, transparency and democracy.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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