These are disruptive times. The pandemic is a wake-up call and has given the world some hard-won lessons about the position of health, no longer a “special interest”, but on the top of political priorities. Maybe the most important lesson learned is that the world needs more collaboration and partnerships – not less. And that unusual times demands leadership beyond the ordinary. Both in the high, middle and low-income countries. It challenges us to rethink how we live our lives and organize our societies towards a more equitable, healthier and fairer world.
We have all seen how our borders between countries have collapsed in the face of the virus that has no regard for geopolitical interests. Mind you, we have common goals that we all have to achieve – the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Due to the pandemic, a progression has turned into regression. These goals and targets must now instead be pushed even harder and they are more important than ever. However, they need to be viewed also in the context of COVID-19.
The present Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2021, gathering multilateral organisations, academia, politicians, business sector and civil society and with participants from all over the world, is therefore more urgent than ever. Humble and innovative discussions on COVID-19 and megatrends, on how to improve human and planetary health in a post COVID-world are hugely important, but even more important is that we can translate new insights and knowledge into actions. I urge you to take part of the different sessions and webinars as one step. And to catch the spirit of the conference, please read Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert, who is a true global health person and inspiration to me.
COVID-19 has positioned health in the midst of the public dialogue. This is an opportunity for change. Please take part in the common discussions on social media how to build a more secure and fairer world. Everyone’s voice is important and needed.