PANAJI: The 2nd Health Working Group G20 meeting held in Goa from April 17 to 19, 2023 concluded with the participation of 180 delegates representing 19 countries, including international and Indian delegates who participated in the 3-day event. Delegates from various countries shared not only their expertise but also their unique experiences in Goa.
Among various delegates that arrived, Dr. Kamal Althobaiti from Saudi Arabia expressed excitement about experiencing the culture and dance of Goa, while Theresa Matthews from the USA appreciated the beauty of the state. “We saw the culture, the local folk dances of Goa and we really had a great time. Thank you so much for having us and for the great hospitality” said Althobaiti.
Stephanie Seydox, a WHO Envoy from Switzerland expressed her happiness and gratitude for the warm welcome she and her team received in Goa. She particularly appreciated the culture, music, dances and the generous welcome from everyone. “All of us are so impressed and pleased with the very cheerful and generous welcome from everyone in Goa for which we are so thankful,” she said.
Hatice Beton, from G20 Health and Development Partnership, expressed delight at being invited to the 2nd Health Working Group Meeting as part of the Indian G20 Presidency. She commended the openness of the Presidency to all delegates, civil society and the private sector community. She also pointed out that despite COVID-19 crisis the meetings have shown a willingness to work in partnerships to find long-term solutions for pandemic preparedness and response. “I must thank the G20 Presidency to really give concrete example to show their best practices and give role model examples to the rest of the G20 countries what they have done and how we can learn from Indian Presidency. It’s been absolute pleasure to be a part of the discussions,” she said. While Switzerland’s Masao Takahashi, representing Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) also shared a similar experience about his time in Goa. “I’m very grateful to see the global leadership of India in the G20 as well as demonstrating the older innovations and advancements of the key challenges that we are confronting with the global health,” Takahashi said.
Among the delegates from India was Bakul Patel, a representative of Google, who stated that India is in the best place to start building an interoperable ecosystem that will allow every developer and innovator to build on top of it. “I’m really excited that Google is looking for partnerships and India actually is in the best place to start, where you have nothing to break down and build from, but also sort of take it to the next level and lead the world in creating an inter-operable ecosystem that will allow every developer and innovator to sort of build on top of it,” he said.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India stated that despite the busy schedule, delegates visited Fort Aguada to witness Goan lifestyle and culture, which left them impressed with the hospitality and warmth of the people. “Apart from health working groups and the G20 India Presidency, many meetings have been conducted and will be conducted in future. Along with this, there are some G20 co-branded events that will be organized in Goa. It is also important because Goa has its unique, rich and varied cultural heritage and it gave an opportunity to all the G20 delegates to experience the Konkani culture and the Portuguese influence in Goa,” he said.
Goa is now gearing up to host its second G20 meeting to be held from May 9 to 11, which will focus on sustainable development issues including digital principles, green transitions, and enhancing international coordination and partnerships. This is the 3rd meeting of the Developmental Working Group on Sustainable Development, following previous meetings held in Mumbai from December 13-16, 2022 and Kumarakom, Kerala on April 9, 2023. One of the key topics of discussion here will be the G20’s role in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event will bring together representatives from the world’s largest economies both developed and developing, to work towards finding solutions to global issues related to sustainable development.