SINGAPORE: The foreign ministers of 13 countries, including Singapore, have committed to maintaining essential global links in areas such as trade and travel, to mimimise the disruption from COVID-19 and facilitate economic recovery.
Participating countries held a teleconference on Friday (Apr 17) as part of the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19 convened by Canada. The group also includes Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
In a declaration issued after the teleconference, the group noted the importance of maintaining air, land and marine transportation links, as well as supply chain connectivity.
This is to facilitate the return home of travellers who may be stranded, ensure the flow of goods, as well as the distribution of personal protective equipment and medicine.
The foreign ministers pledged to promote and protect free trade, and agreed that emergency measures to tackle COVID-19 must be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains.
They also acknowledged the critical role of the scientific community in providing guidance to governments in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
In urging other countries to adopt a similar approach, the declaration said: "As the world manages the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we work together to save lives and livelihoods. Global cooperation is necessary to mitigate the unprecedented disruption to the global economy, trade, and travel.
"We must endeavour to deliver a strong and coordinated global health response including developing a vaccine and relevant treatments and to identify best practices to emerge from the crisis as a stronger, more interconnected world."