Home Systems biology Maintaining an inclusive, rules-based multilateral system is ‘the only way forward’, says Vivian Balakrishnan

Maintaining an inclusive, rules-based multilateral system is ‘the only way forward’, says Vivian Balakrishnan



Dr Balakrishnan also said it was essential to build a more robust global health architecture to protect future generations.

“After COVID-19, there will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. In my opinion, in fact, COVID-19 was maybe a dress rehearsal for a worse pandemic to come,” a- he declared.

“We need to be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and respond to pandemics in a coordinated and effective manner.

“We have a collective responsibility to rectify the long-standing underinvestment in pandemic preparedness, among other global public goods.”


The minister also stressed the need for an open and inclusive global framework to harness the opportunities of the digital revolution while addressing its challenges.

“Digital transformation does not take place in a vacuum. It must be navigated in the context of intersecting issues – geopolitical tensions, technological bifurcation, cybersecurity threats and the digital divide,” he said.

“The world has made significant progress in developing on the basis of a single, shared technology stack. Interconnectivity, interoperability has brought us closer together, reduced costs, spurred innovation and competition and cross-fertilization of ideas.

“But if we fracture our world and our tech stack, all of that good work and speed of progress and innovation will be significantly slowed.

“A zero-sum, one-size-fits-all, bifurcated approach benefits no one. An erosion of trust and an atmosphere of confrontation will only multiply cyber threats and malicious cyber activity,” he added.

Dr Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s full support for the UN Secretary-General’s proposal for a global digital compact, adding that all states should benefit from the digital revolution and not be left behind.


Speaking to reporters after his speech, Dr Balakrishnan said the mood at this year’s UNGA was “somewhat gloomy” as it took place during a time of anxiety, particularly over relations between states. USA and China.

He said recent rhetoric and actions in the Taiwan Strait were “seriously concerning”, but he was hopeful given the meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Chinese minister. of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi in New York.

“I think both sides understand the seriousness of the situation. We can only hope that a cool head and common sense will prevail, and that they avoid the possibility of accidents, miscalculations, accidents or worse, to enter an escalating spiral.”

Dr Balakrishnan said the next two to three months would be “vital” to de-escalate the situation, and expressed hope that US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet on the sidelines of upcoming summits and come to terms. a Vivendi mod.

A modus vivendi refers to an arrangement or agreement that allows disputing parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.

Addressing the situation in Myanmar, the minister said he was “pessimistic”, citing reports of continued violence and political detentions.

“Our view remains that the only way out of this quagmire is political reconciliation, as well as discussions and negotiations in good faith between all parties,” he said, adding that this must involve both the former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military leader Min Aung Hlaing.