The event titled, 'The Taiwan Model: On a resolute path to the SDGs in the COVID-19 pandemic,' presented the success of a whole-of-society approach to addressing COVID-19, led by government, science, and technology, but incorporating the need for cooperation and trust from the population.
Speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration in addressing this global challenge, and noted ways in which the SDG indicators help in the identification of best case examples.
A webinar titled, ‘The Taiwan Model: On a resolute path to the SDGs in the COVID-19 pandemic,’ shared the pandemic response used to keep the number of COVID-19 cases in that nation under 500 and the number of deaths to seven, to date. Speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration in addressing this global challenge.
The Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, James K.J. Lee, opened the event on 17 September 2020. He highlighted the importance of global cooperation, noting that “no one is safe unless everyone is safe.”
Dr. Chen Chien-jen, former Vice President and currently Distinguished Professor at Academia Sinica’s Genomic Research Center, reported that shortcomings of global pandemic containment policies include delayed contract tracing, delayed border controls, and implementation of city lock-downs without the promotion of personal hygiene and social distancing. He said the model adopted by decision makers in Taipei relied on smart technology rather than lock-downs and mass screening. Contact tracing using big data and ICT, home isolation and quarantine requirements for close contacts and inbound passengers, and the mobilization of the health care system for isolation treatment were all employed to address the pandemic early. He said remaining global challenges include several elements: the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is persisting; the global economic recession is serious; border re-openings may increase the number of imported cases and the risk of local outbreak recurrence; and seasonal influenza may increase the difficulty in differential diagnosis and clinical management.
Dr. Chen and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) emphasized the role of public trust in addressing this global health challenge. They highlighted that a sense of solidarity and an emphasis on addressing the health of individuals is critical for achieving the health of the entire population and have helped drive their successful management of the pandemic. Moderator Patrick Paul Walsh, University College Dublin, Ireland, stressed the whole-of-society approach, led by government, science, and technology but incorporating the need for cooperation and trust from the population.
Speakers also highlighted the use of SDG indicators to identify where best case models exist. EPA Deputy Minister Tsai Hung-teh discussed achievements on the SDGs, including 41.59% of female parliamentarians (SDG indicator 5.5.1.a: Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments). He noted that 21 nations currently have female leaders, and that nations with female leaders have tended to perform better in response to COVID-19. He also reported a 55% recycling rate and a large rate of scooter use for transportation, assisted by the introduction of charging stations in urban centers.
Lynn Wagner, IISD, reported on a comparison of 19 SDG indicators in 19 advanced economies, and highlighted that indicators from the EPA place it in the top half of 19 advanced economies for 11 of the 19 indicators examined. These indicators include two for SDG 3 (good health and well-being: proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel and adolescent birth rate) as well as the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament and forest area as a proportion of total land area. She invited participants to explore the Global SDG Indicator Platform to further examine and compare SDG indicator data. [Webinar Agenda and link to recording]