First Meeting of the BIMSTEC Expert Group on Health held in Colombo on 26-27 July 2023


At Colombo, Sri Lanka

The First Meeting of the BIMSTEC Expert Group on Public Health was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 26-27 July 2023 in hybrid mode, with the participation of delegations from all BIMSTEC Member States.

The Meeting which was chaired by the Director General of Health Services of Sri Lanka, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, discussed a range of issues relating to Public Health in the region, and finalised, among others, the Terms of Reference of the Expert Group, the BIMSTEC Plan of Action on Public Health 2023-2025, and a Memorandum of Understanding between the BIMSTEC Secretariat and the World Bank on Collaboration on Strengthening Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, and Health Systems Resilience Among BIMSTEC Member States. The decisions of the Expert Group will be submitted to the 23rd Meeting of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ consisting of the Foreign Secretaries of the BIMSTEC Member States and higher authorities for approval and endorsement.

The Meeting of the Expert Group was preceded by a Conference on Improving Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) through One Health Approach co-hosted by the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka and the World Bank on 24-25 July 2023. The Conference included presentations on Country Perspectives on Pandemic Preparedness and Best Practices by the delegates to the First BIMSTEC Expert Group on Public Health; Panel Discussions; Lightning Talks on latest developments in the global PPR landscape; and Group Exercises. The Inauguration of the Conference was attended by the Minister of Health of Sri Lanka, Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, the Secretary to the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka, Mr. Janaka Chandraguptha, the Secretary General of BIMSTEC, H.E. Tenzin Lekphell, the Country Manager of the World Bank in Sri Lanka, Ms. Chiyo Kanda, the Senior Advisor on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, and senior officials of the Government of Sri Lanka as well as experts and officials from several other countries, and regional and international organisations.


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