Bangladesh’s Peace Conference: Ban Ki-moon seeks quicker action against Omicron

I believe we’ve invaluable opportunities to change the world for the better,' says Ban

Former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged world leaders to gear up the global vaccination drive and synergize sustainable and inclusive recovery as the new variant of Covid-19, "Omicron", posed new challenges.

“The spread of Omicron variant underlines this urgency,” he said in a video message on the occasion of the two-day World Peace Conference that began in Dhaka on Saturday, noting that cooperation and elevated political will are critical.

Now it is the second year that Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause immense suffering with huge economic losses while reports suggest Omicron has been found in close to 40 countries.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the world should not panic about the new Omicron variant but it should prepare. Speaking at a conference on Friday, top WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the situation now was very different from a year ago.

In his video message played during the inaugural session of the conference, the former UN chief highlighted the great importance of coming together to holistically advance peace through social inclusion during the period of great change.

“I believe we’ve invaluable opportunities to change the world for the better, but to do this we need to work together through a driving commitment to peace, sustainability, inclusion, the power of partnership and multilateral cooperation,” Ban said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic amplified the inequalities and the ongoing recovery will be prolonged. “We need to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and fight against vaccine inequity. This is the most pressing test ahead of us.”

Ban called upon all to prioritize peace, sustainability and inclusion for a brighter future for all and mentioned that climate change is rapidly worsening, great power tensions and regional conflicts are growing to hinder global cooperation when it is badly needed.