STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA AT THE ECOSOC SPECIAL MINISTERIAL MEETING ON A VACCINE FOR ALL DELIVERED BY H.E. DR IBRAHIMA KALIL KABA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND GUINEANS ABROAD OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA (New York, 16 April 2021)
I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
I would like first of all, to express our deep appreciation to the ECOSOC Presidency for convening this very important high-level special meeting.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the world. It has exposed new vulnerabilities in social, infrastructure and governance systems. We note with concern that it further exacerbated existing impediments and undermined many development gains, such as impacts on global financial and economic crises, continuing lack of resources and underdevelopment of the majority of the developing world, continuing unequal terms of trade and lack of cooperation from developed countries, in the way towards a just and equitable world order.
The Group insists that COVID-19 vaccines be treated as a global public good with a view to facilitating a fair and timely access for all in order to overcome the pandemic worldwide and recover the momentum for sustainable development, with COVAX being the appropriate mechanism to guarantee it.
The Group calls for greater sharing of information and technology for the detection, prevention, treatment and control of the pandemic, and recognizes initiatives in this regard, such as the equitable access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), Friends of the COVAX Facility, the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and relevant pledging appeals.
The Group reaffirms the commitments made by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the G77 and China in its Ministerial Declaration adopted on 12 November 2020 and the Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines supported by 181 member States.
We underline the importance of vaccine preparedness and the important role of resilient health systems in the fight against COVID-19, and request further support and access to concessional funding and other financial measures by multilateral financial organizations.
The Group takes note with appreciation, initiatives undertaken by the G20 since the outbreak of the pandemic and calls on the group to further collaborate with the United Nations to scale up support and address the funding gap for vaccine production and distribution, to overcome the pandemic and put the world economy back on track while leaving no one behind.
The Group is encouraged by the roll-out of the first allocations of WHO approved vaccines, particularly through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative, which has seen vaccines reaching millions of people, while recognizing that there is still much more to be done.
While a ray of hope looms on the horizon with the development of vaccines and the launch of vaccination campaigns, the Group calls on countries to address misinformation, counter vaccine hesitancy, and launch public information campaigns to raise people's awareness on the importance and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. we must also ensure that vaccines are properly tested, and that relevant data is made publicly available for transparency and credibility purposes.
Mr. President, a global vaccine gap threatens everyone's health and wellbeing. The group is deeply concerned about the low availability of COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries and is alarmed that many low-income countries have not yet received a single dose, while wealthier countries are on track to vaccinating their entire population.
To ensure that everyone is vaccinated this year and to put an end to the pandemic, the Group calls for the rapid scaling up and expansion of vaccine production globally, including in developing countries, through appropriate dissemination of technology and know-how, using the WTO TRIPS agreement, as well as the 2001 WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health, which recognizes that the TRIPS agreement should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of the right of Member States to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.
The Group stresses the need for global solidarity and multilateral cooperation to increase vaccines production and distribution, on regional and global levels. It opposes vaccine nationalism and rejects any vaccine divide or any attempt to politicize vaccine cooperation.
Drawing on first lessons from the pandemic, we can easily say that our destinies are linked and highlighted the need, in the area of new communication technologies, robust partnership with private sector and international organizations, to reinvent ourselves and to recommit to working together to effectively address the challenges facing humanity.
The Group is committed to achieving a speedy, inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery and building back better, including through targeted measures to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, strengthened health systems and achievement of universal health coverage, enhanced digital connectivity, high-quality education, and productive employment and job creation.
Today, it is possible to foresee the end of the pandemic, but to reach it, we need to work together with a deeper sense of collaboration. The Group remains fully committed to multilateralism and international cooperation as the only way to overcome the pandemic safely, equitably and sustainably.
The G77 strongly believes that "no one can be safe, until everyone is safe", and that equitable, unhindered and affordable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines must be ensured to all countries to have a speedy recovery and contribute to ending the pandemic.
I thank you.